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Significance Addicts

Michela Wrong: Aid Workers, 11 February 2010

Six Months in Sudan: A Young Doctor in a War-Torn Village 
by James Maskalyk.
Canongate, 340 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84767 274 2
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... As a member of Nairobi’s press corps, I often used to socialise with aid workers. The Kenyan capital was a perfect base for us. Its air links meant Africa’s various trouble spots, our professional bread and butter, were within easy striking distance: its shopping plazas, cafés and cinemas made it a place where those who had spent too long in the field dreamed of unwinding ...

‘This is Africa, after all. What can you expect?’

Bernard Porter: Corruption and Post-Imperialism, 26 March 2009

It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower 
by Michela Wrong.
Fourth Estate, 354 pp., £12.99, February 2009, 978 0 00 724196 5
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... arap Moi (1978-2002), from one of Kenya’s minority tribes, things got a great deal worse. (Michela Wrong acknowledges that the word ‘tribe’ ‘raises eyebrows’ in the West, but points out that it is still used in Kenya today, and is indeed essential to an understanding of its society.) Great hopes were placed in the man who peacefully ...

One Foot out of the Grave

Adewale Maja-Pearce: Kagame after Karegeya, 1 July 2021

Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad 
by Michela Wrong.
Fourth Estate, 512 pp., £20, April, 978 0 00 823887 2
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... with ending the genocide of 1994 – ‘one of the fastest killing sprees in human history’, as Michela Wrong describes it – and leading Rwanda to peace and prosperity. This sterling reputation has ensured that questions are rarely asked about his government’s involvement in the killings and disappearance of a long series of political ...

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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... areas at the time of the liberation war, was a picaresque homage to the Eritrean people. Michela Wrong has attempted something different: an idiosyncratic, free-ranging history of Eritrea, from colonial times to the present, marvellously full of anecdote, archive and interview material. The book moves easily along, driven by ...

Ça va un peu

Adam Shatz: Congo, 23 October 2014

Congo: The Epic History of a People 
by David Van Reybrouck.
Fourth Estate, 656 pp., £25, March 2014, 978 0 00 756290 9
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... The river itself is a flowing signifier for colonial greed, rapacity and, of course, horror. As Michela Wrong wrote in her memorable book about Mobutu, any Westerner who journeys to Congo follows ‘in the footsteps of Mr Kurtz’. And not only Kurtz. After Conrad came Gide, Greene, Kapuściński, Mailer and Naipaul. Congo is endlessly fertile literary ...

Belgravia Cockney

Christopher Tayler: On being a le Carré bore, 25 January 2007

The Mission Song 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 339 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 9780340921968
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... the Cold War that also offers some pointers for the future. The right people have lost but the wrong people have won. Capitalism must stage its own glasnost, which perhaps it can now that anti-Communism won’t provide ideological cover for low deeds. Unhappily, this isn’t the view taken by the likes of Sir Anthony Joyston Bradshaw, an arms dealer who ...

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