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Book Reviews 159 EECMY while also a minister in Haile Sellassie's government; consequently the two functions occasionally overlapped, such as when on several occasions he contacted the emperor on behalf of the church for the granting of land for building projects. He was still serving in the church when the Derg seized power. Ato Emmanuel captures the climate of the period as illustrated by his first person account of the seizure of the EECMY central office building and his arrest, with other church leaders, in Bako as they discussed synod administrative plans. There is much interesting information here for contemporary church historians, especially regarding the evolving relationships between EECMY and various missions, the organization and initial growth and struggles of synods within the church, the incorporation of the Bethel church into EECMY, Ato Emmanuel's statement of the proper relationship between "development" and "evangelism", and his perception of Ethiopian Christians' contribution to church unity in Africa. One minor point of correction: the Finnish Mission Society was renamed the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission; the Finnish Lutheran Mission is a different group (p. 272). Beyond church historians, this book is of considerable interest to those who study the inner workings, policies, and intrigues of Haile Selassie's court, especially from 1935 through 1975. What emerges is a portrait of a man who, because of his innate intelligence and educational opportunities, rose from humble origins and strove to serve his country, his emperor, and his God to the best of his ability. Much can be garnered from this autobiography which so thoroughly comments on such a critical period of twentieth-century Ethiopian history. Peter Unseth Summer Institute of Linguistics Aman, the Story of a Somali Girl Aman (As Told to Virginia Lee Barnes and Janice Boddy) London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1995. Pp. xiv + 349. This successful book was first published in 1994, and has seen one hardcover and at least two paperback editions. This British Bloomsbury edition features a Somali veiled girl on the cover who is probably the opposite of Aman, the woman who describes her adventurous and outrageous life in these pages. But the picture (like the one on the 160 Book Reviews hardcover edition, where a hardly visible woman sits on a high bed in a room where the morning light has just filtered in) serves to draw Western readers into the unknown world of women in a ravaged, stateless, but still mysterious African country they know mainly from dramatic television coverage and newspaper headlines. The book makes for absorbing reading as a tale of a Somali woman recounting her youth in a colonized country, gaining independence, and edging into the modern era. Through the story, in which the vulnerability of women in a thoroughly patriarchal and divided society is convincingly and painfully shown, we see the prelude of the breakdown of Somalia into crisis and chaos. The story covers the period up to about 1970, that is, before the deterioration and final demise of the Siyad Barre regime in January 1991. The narrative style is personal, lively, and fast-moving. There are detailed descriptions and dramatic stories about her circumcision, her impossible relationship with an Italian boy, leading to tragedy; her failed first marriage concluded by her for money; her first intercourse (rape); unhappy love; night-life in Mogadishu; and the affairs, sexual relations, infidelity, and struggles experienced with men. There is no doubt that the author is a good storyteller with a great memory, although many details appear not to refer to actual fact but were filled in during the dramatic run of the story as it was told. The story of an abused woman—though from a very different socio-cultural setting—also fits in with current preoccupations in Western society. The text as presented is an assemblage of different sessions of narrative, edited by the late Lee Barnes, who first "discovered" Aman, and Janice Boddy, who finished the work after Lee's premature death. Both these anthropologists have done a great job in collecting the story and seeing it through to publication. However, the book should neither be read for a deep insight into Somali culture and values, nor as an ethnographically informative account. First of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-6574
Print ISSN
0740-9133
Pages
pp. 159-163
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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