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22 April 1993
A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique 
by William Finnegan.
California, 344 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 520 07804 7
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Conspicuous Destruction: War, Famine and the Reform Process in Mozambique 
by Karl Maier, Kemal Mustafa and Alex Vines.
Africa Watch, 202 pp., £8.99, July 1992, 1 56432 079 0
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African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe 
by Doris Lessing.
HarperCollins, 442 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 00 255019 9
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... he listened to my fevered stories of chaos and paradox with great understanding ... saying simply, “It’s a complicated war” ’ – whence the title of the book. The journalist in question was KarlMaier, who reported on Mozambique for the Independent and other papers during the late Eighties and left before the peace was signed in October 1992. He researched Conspicuous Destruction with the ...

Feed the Charm

Adewale Maja-Pearce: Political violence in Africa

25 July 2002
In the Shadow of a Saint: A Son’s Journey to Understand His Father’s Legacy 
by Ken Wiwa.
Black Swan, 320 pp., £7.99, January 2002, 0 552 99891 5
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This House Has Fallen: Nigeria in Crisis 
by Karl Maier.
Penguin, 327 pp., £9.99, February 2002, 0 14 029884 3
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The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War 
by Stephen Ellis.
Hurst, 350 pp., £40, November 1999, 1 85065 417 4
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... the British-based pressure group) by acting as their frontman for dubious companies involved in the large-scale transfer of money abroad. Ken Saro-Wiwa was hardly a saint. In This House Has Fallen, KarlMaier, an American journalist who has spent many years reporting from all over Africa, gives Saro-Wiwa an entire chapter. Unlike Ken Wiwa, he delves deeply into the activities of Shell, and gives an ...

The Spoils of Humanitarianism

Karl Maier: Feeding off Famine

19 February 1998
Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa 
by Alex de Waal.
James Currey/Indiana, 238 pp., £40, October 1997, 0 85255 811 2
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The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity 
by Michael Maren.
Free Press, 302 pp., $25, January 1997, 0 684 82800 6
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... Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people in North Korea are succumbing to starvation, perishing ‘silently and painfully’ in the words of an aid agency official. Eighty-five per cent of the country’s children are malnourished, and in some towns at least, the story goes, ‘corpses line the streets.’ Rumours of cannibalism are rife. Only an immediate response from the United Nations ...

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