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South Africa’s Left

Martin Plaut, 8 March 1990

... It was a hot day. The fluffy clouds overhead did nothing to shade the crowd. They paid little heed to the heat – intent on the task before them. They were burying their dead, probably victims of a Government hit-squad. This was Cradock, a small Eastern Cape town, on 19 July 1985. Some of the mourners carried placards bearing the green, black and gold of the African National Congress ...

The Habit of War

Jeremy Harding: Eritrea, 20 July 2006

I Didn’t Do It for You: How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation 
by Michela Wrong.
Harper Perennial, 432 pp., £8.99, January 2005, 0 00 715095 4
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Unfinished Business: Ethiopia and Eritrea at War 
edited by Dominique Jacquin-Berdal and Martin Plaut.
Red Sea, 320 pp., $29.95, April 2005, 1 56902 217 8
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Battling Terrorism in the Horn of Africa 
edited by Robert Rotberg.
Brookings, 210 pp., £11.99, December 2005, 0 8157 7571 7
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... the conflict was adjourned, it had cost 80,000 lives, according to Wrong – 100,000 according to Martin Plaut, one of the editors of Unfinished Business. Neither leadership had seemed able or willing to stop it – and, as Wrong points out, it was conducted in the tradition of a family dispute between the TPLF and the EPLF, underpinned by ‘an almost ...

Incapable of Sustaining Weeds

Tom Stevenson: What happened in Tigray, 25 January 2024

Understanding Ethiopia’s Tigray War 
by Martin Plaut and Sarah Vaughan.
Hurst, 459 pp., £25, February 2023, 978 1 78738 811 6
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... war broke out goes far beyond the events of a few days in early November 2020. Sarah Vaughan and Martin Plaut’s book represents the first serious attempt at an account of the conflict. They show that the war, which is mostly described in the later chapters written by Plaut, can’t be explained without an account of ...

They were less depressed in the Middle Ages

John Bossy: Suicide, 11 November 1999

Marx on Suicide 
edited by Eric Plaut and Kevin Anderson, translated by Gabrielle Edgcomb.
Northwestern, 152 pp., £11.20, May 1999, 0 8101 1632 4
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Suicide in the Middle Ages, Vol I: The Violent Against Themselves 
by Alexander Murray.
Oxford, 510 pp., £30, January 1999, 0 19 820539 2
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A History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture 
by Georges Minois, translated by Lydia Cochrane.
Johns Hopkins, 420 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 8018 5919 0
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... they are desperate about their salvation. Some of them suggest the early religious experience of Martin Luther, with his scrupulousness, excessive asceticism and panic at the justice of God: we shall see in a moment what Murray makes of this. After this mammoth journey through the circles of hell, Murray ends up with some statistics and some consequent ...

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