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Book Reviews 125 promote the goal of strengthening national unity although certainly it is a better strategy than not studying these histories at all which has been the norm. These views should not be seen as a criticism of Marcus's work, which merits praise for its synthesis and erudition. It is more a call to arms. Marcus's work reflects the current historiography, and makes clear what work has been accomplished in recent generations by Ethiopian and expatriate scholars alike; such exercise also points to the glaring deficiencies and disparities in coverage that still exist. While it is up to Ethiopians themselves to further the task of nation-building (a never-ending process), historians can play a vital role by endeavoring, outside the contexts of politics and polemics, to gather the information and provide the sound syntheses that will eventually make the writing of a truly "national" Ethiopian history possible. The challenge is for us to do, in the same exemplary fashion, for Ethiopia's "peripheral" peoples what Marcus and others have done for the Abyssinians, and to integrate that material into the existing base so effectively and convincingly that these people are no longer peripheral to Ethiopian history. Charles W. McClellan Radford University The Life History of an Ethiopian Refugee (1944-1991): Sojourn in the Fourth World Taddele Seyoum Teshale (with the assistance of Virginia Lee Barnes) Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1991. Pp. 109. Taddele Seyoum Teshale's poignant autobiography is a primary source relevant to both scholars and general readers interested in Ethiopia and refugees. After fleeing Ethiopia in 1983, Taddele eventually settled in the United States where he met anthropologist Virginia Lee Barnes, to whom he narrated his story while she typed it into her computer. Taddele's life history is straightforward, yet moving, and succeeds in describing the physical, emotional and sometimes psychological ordeals he endured, especially under the Derg and while abroad. Taddele is highly critical of the Derg and its policies, and of the ways international aid agencies treat refugees.1 The book is concise, well-written and adds to the growing number of life histories from the Horn.2 126 Book Reviews Barnes's introduction reviews general conditions in the Fourth World, which is her label for the "stateless and displaced people of the world," and discusses how education and literacy can alter the trajectory of a refugee's exile. Taddele's prior knowledge of how bureaucracies operate enabled him to take better advantage than many of his peers of the opportunities provided by international aid agencies. Since his refugee experience was relatively positive, one must wonder with Barnes "what is the worst [one] like?" The first chapter covers Taddele's early years growing up in his father's Gojjam household, his suffering under a series of unkind stepmothers, his short-lived church education, his later completion of government elementary and high school and his acceptance to the Ambo Agricultural Institute. He describes the conditions of school life throughout and various student protests in which he participated. In contrast and opposition to the AAI faculty, Ministry of Agriculture officials in the late 1960s were remarkably responsive to student demands for better living conditions and less strict school regulations. Taddele then recounts his four years working for the Ministry of Agriculture in his home province and the difficulties he encountered trying to convince farmers to adopt the use of fertilizers and improved seed varieties. In 1974, he was called to Addis Ababa by the new government, underwent reeducation and was assigned to the Ministry of Land Reform. He then went back to Gojjam where he was regarded as a government sympathizer. The third chapter covers the period when Taddele's life really went sour. He discusses how different opposition parties exacerbated social and political tensions, eventually leading to the government's violent Red Terror campaign. Taddele was disliked by peasants who were reluctant to accept land reform policies, and his refusal to join SEDED, Mengistu's political party, aroused official suspicion. He was imprisoned a few times for disloyalty, and he describes the various forms of murder and torture he witnessed both in and out of jail. When he learned...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-6574
Print ISSN
0740-9133
Pages
pp. 125-128
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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