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96 Book Reviews Fishing in Africa: A Guide to War and Corruption Andrew Buckoke London: Picador, 1991. 227 pp. Small Wars, Small Mercies: Journeys in Africa's Disputed Nations Jeremy Harding London: Viking, 1993. 442 pp. + xxi. Using editorial prerogative, I thought I would introduce two books that may otherwise be overlooked, yet give firsthand accounts of the civil conflicts in the Horn in the 1980s and early 1990s. Buckoke and Harding have almost identical CVs: both British, both Africa-based freelance correspondents, and both worked for the Financial Times at some point. For Buckoke, fishing—with an actual rod and reel—was the pretext for him to venture beyond the well-trodden correspondents' pathways and observe unreported people and environments. His chapters on Ethiopia, Sudan, Southern Sudan, and Somalia describe the upheaval of families and the rupture of social production caused by war far away from the farcical antics of the government or rebel leaders—virtual clones with respect to their blatant disregard for human life. Harding, as part of his title (Small Mercies) insinuates, presents a more redemptive picture of Africa. Perhaps this is a reflection of the times in which he wrote his book, as many of the rebel groups had emerged victorious and thus Harding, like others, glosses over the capriciousness of war. Reminiscent of Thomas Keneally's Towards Asmara, Harding's chapter on Eritrea attempts to contextualize the struggle of the EPLF within superpower and Middle Eastern conflicts while glorifying the life, organization, and commitment of the rebels. Finally, both books are eminently readable, providing sharp insights that often elude those too versed in the polemics of the situations. Charles Schaefer Valparaiso University ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-6574
Print ISSN
0740-9133
Pages
p. 96
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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