Cover

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About the Series, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

In a 1999 article reviewing ethnographic work on war in the twentieth century, Catherine Lutz states, “Ethnography in its modern form has lived through a century of wars, global and local, hot and cold. It has been at once an indifferent bystander, engaged witness, survivor and soldier in the battles and war preparations that have pockmarked...

List of Acronyms

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pp. xv-xvi

Timeline of the Key Events of War and Aftermath, 1991–2003

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pp. xvii-xx

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Note on Sources

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pp. xxi-xxii

The material for this book is comprised of interviews that I conducted one-on-one with individual residents of the town of Makeni. After a significant amount of time getting to know someone (often months), I would ask permission to sit down together to conduct a life history interview, a conversation in which I guided them through questions...

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Introduction: Sierra Leonean Emotions, Sierra Leonean War

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pp. 1-30

This rebel, whom I call Noah, has a typical recruitment story among former combatants with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), which waged a decade-long war of terror in the Sierra Leonean countryside. Young people were seized from villages, fed a revolutionary ideology, and given a “choice” either to stay with the rebels or to watch their families...

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1 Understanding Makeni and Nested Loyalties: Marginality and Collaboration in the Northern Capital

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pp. 31-52

My initial trip to Sierra Leone in 2003 was spent largely in Freetown, mulling over research possibilities. I focused on the idea of studying Makeni because it was stigmatized, though it was a regional capital city. From that moment, everyone I met in Freetown, from the U.S. ambassador to university professors, dispensed advice on working...

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2 “I Must Be Grateful to Them for Freeing Me”: The Soldier

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pp. 53-84

The intricacies of love and betrayal cannot be better illustrated than through the relationship between government and soldier. More than a mere employment contract, the commitment to soldiering requires the will to sacrifice one’s life in service of the government, with the expectation that the government will in turn provide a lifetime...

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3 “They Said Nobody Would Hide from This War”: The Rebel

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pp. 85-112

David was an utterly average RUF ex-combatant. He was not the barefoot, scruffy, illiterate, and angry ragtag who sprang Captain Mansaray from prison. He was not a machete-wielding madman, red eyes bulging in a drug-induced haze, as in cinematic depictions. He was ordinary, with the appearance of an impoverished but poised everyman. He dressed and carried himself...

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4 “I Held a Gun but I Did Not Fire It”: The Student

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pp. 113-145

The chapters thus far have highlighted the fact that individuals deploy narratives about their lives in particular ways, fashioning history and their past selves in ways productive in the present and portentous for the future. Mohamed and David framed their stories to highlight both the importance of love to behavior and decision-making, and how they acted...

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5 “The Government Brought Death, the Rebels Allowed Us to Live”: The Trader

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pp. 146-166

The mercurial weather of the rainy season has little effect on the bustle in Makeni’s marketplace. In between rain showers, traders throw tarps off their wares and quickly bargain with passersby before the next squall, when goods are covered once again. One day in June 2005, I made my way through the bustle and into the lorry park. This is the center of transport...

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6 “It Was the Lord Who Wanted Me to Stay”: The Evangelist

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pp. 167-188

Every day on my walk into town, I left the dust, bustle, and danger of the highway and diverted onto a crumbling street that was too potholed for vehicles. I picked my way carefully and took in my damaged surroundings. This road appeared particularly hard hit by the occupation, with many homes mere shells of ruined concrete, tin roofs held up by...

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7 “They Really Damaged Me”: The Father

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pp. 189-215

Musa is not a tall man, but his bearing is dignified and his smile wide and inviting. He was always initiating conversations in the neighborhood, whether about politics or his older daughter and her progress in kindergarten. He brought her to meet me one day after school. Prim in her ironed uniform, in pigtails, she looked up at me, squinting...

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8 “The RUF Thought I Was on Their Side”: The Politician

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pp. 216-242

Throughout the war in Sierra Leone, love consisted of explicit practices of sacrifice and choice, most often geared towards immediate survival. Very few were in a position to achieve permanence during the war; rebel commanders were among the few in a position to become big, however temporarily. People from David to Adama did the daily work...

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Epilogue and Conclusions: Makeni, May 2010

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pp. 243-248

I arrived back in Makeni seven years after my first visit to the dusty, beleaguered northern capital. The country had undergone a peaceful transfer of executive power in 2007, and the new president, Ernest Koroma, was a Makeni native. Residents were hopeful that his tenure would mean improvement in the town’s infrastructure...

Notes

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pp. 249-256

Bibliography

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pp. 257-262

Index

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pp. 263-268