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Book Reviews 139 Notes For example, already in Bahru Zewde's Ph.D. thesis of 1976, Relations between Ethiopia and the Sudan on the Western Ethiopian Frontier, 1898-1935 (London: SOAS); see also A. Nary, The Culture ofPowerlessness and the Spirit ofRebellion among the Aarì People ofSouthwest Ethiopia (Stanford 1992); more recently in the M.A. theses of students of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology of AAU. Ofthese, the following (on the Southwest) were up to now published: Ayalew Gébre,The Arbore of Southern Ethiopia (Addis Ababa 1995); Gebre Yntiso, An Exploratory Study ofProduction Practices among the Ari, Southwest Ethiopia (Addis Ababa 1993); and Melese Getu, Tsamako Women's Roles and Statuses in Agro-pastoral Production (Addis Ababa 1995). It is not feasible to mention such works here, but the names of Tornay, Bureau, Turton, Strecker, Lydall, Triulzi, Ahnagor, Donham, Braukämper, Schlee, Hamer, Baxter, Hultin, Haberland, Kurimoto, Fukui, Matsuda, Miyawaki, Shigeta, etc. spring to mind. See also M. L. Bender (ed.), Peoples and Cultures ofthe Ethio-Sudan Borderlands (East Lansing: Michigan State University, African Studies Center, 1981); and D. L. Donham and W James (eds.), The Southern Marches ofImperial Ethiopia, Essags in History and Social Anthropologg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). Eritrea and Ethiopia. The Federal Experience. Tekeste Negash Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 1997. Pp. 234; illustrations. Few histories have been as contentious as that of Eritrea's association with Ethiopia. Historians of Ethiopia have rarely found the need to look at Eritrean history detached from that of Ethiopia, except for the sixty years or so it had come first under Italian colonial rule and then British administration. On the other hand, the Eritrean liberation fronts and their sympathizers have been at pains to forge a separate history for Eritrea. Now that the Eritrean struggle for independence has been crowned with success, it is conceivable that the historiographical battle would also give way to a more sober reconstruction of the Eritrean past. Tekeste Negash's recent book is an important step in that direction. Appropriately enough, the book focuses on the decade-long federation of the two entities—a period that crystallizes their troubled relations, a period of some hope and yet ultimate frustration. He prefaces this with a synopsis of the 140 Book Reviews colonial legacy (both Italian and British) that contributed more than anything else tot he forging of a separate Eritrean identity. The attendant critical review of literature understandably centers on Trevaskis, whose work, Eritrea: A Colony in Transition, 1941-1952, had so much influence on Eritrean nationalist historiography. Tekeste's work is based on solid archival evidence, mainly British but also some Italian. In addition, it has the profound insights of a keen observer of the bloody history of the last three decades and the anguish and torment of "an Ethiopian born in Eritrea." The central theme ofthe work is thatboth the fight for union before 1952 and the dissolution of the federation are to be sought in Eritrea itself rather than in Ethiopia. The British had greater share of responsibility in creating the separatist movement in Eritrea than the Ethiopian authorities had in the birth or growth of the unionist movement. Described as "one of the most articulate and persistent anti-colonialist movements in Africa of the period" (59), the Unionist Party fought for its objective of union with Ethiopia with such determination and ruthlessness that both the Four Powers Commission and the UN Commission of Enquiry sent to gauge popular feelings were forced to heed its claims. Tekeste's analysis provides additional and substantive confirmation to the great irony of the federal experiment: designed to satisfy two conflicting options (union versus independence), it ended up being resented by the proponents of both. The problems ofthe federation started within a year ofits adoption. At the center of the controversy was the Unionist Chief Executive, Dajjazmach Tadla Bairu, who "was determined to abolish the federation much sooner than the Ethiopian authorities" (98). His authoritarian style of handling the Eritrean Assembly, even more than his undermining of Eritrean autonomy, made him too much of an embarrassment to Addis Ababa. Eventually, he had to be replaced by Bitwaddad Asfaha Walda-Mikael, who interestingly enough was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-6574
Print ISSN
0740-9133
Pages
pp. 139-142
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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