Eritrean Book Club: what we’re reading

Towards Asmara by Thomas Keneally Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins I Didn't Do it for You by Michela Wrong Riding the Whirlwind: An Ethiopian Story of Love and Revolution by Bereket Habte Selassie

    Current Book Selection:

  • Towards Asmara
    by Thomas Keneally
  • Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
    by John Perkins
  • I Didn’t Do It For You
    by Michela Wrong
  • Riding the Whirlwind: An Ethiopian Story of Love and Revolution
    by Bereket Habte Selassie

Towards Asmara
Four Westerners travel under Eritrean rebel escort through a land of savage beauty and bitter drought towards the front-line and the ancient capital of Asmara. Each is irrevocably changed as they bear witness to the devastation of war as well as to the Eritreans’ courage, remarkable organisation and humanity in the face of constant attack. With this powerful and moving novel, Thomas Keneally draws attention to a contemporary issue of global importance – and illustrates the tribal and ideological roots that continue to fuel the wars today.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
From the author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, comes an exposé of international corruption — and an inspired plan to turn the tide for future generations. With a presidential election around the corner, questions of America’s military buildup, environmental impact, and foreign policy are on everyone’s mind. Former “Economic Hit Man” John Perkins goes behind the scenes of the current geopolitical crisis and offers bold solutions to our most pressing problems. Drawing on interviews with other EHMs, jackals, CIA operatives, reporters, businessmen, and activists, Perkins reveals the secret history of events that have created the current American Empire, including:

  • How the “defeats” in Vietnam and Iraq have benefited big business
  • The role of Israel as “Fortress America” in the Middle East
  • Tragic repercussions of the IMF’s “Asian Economic Collapse”
  • The current Latin American revolution and its lessons for democracy
  • U.S. blunders in Tibet, Congo, Lebanon, and Venezuela

From the U.S. military in Iraq to infrastructure development in Indonesia, from Peace Corps volunteers in Africa to jackals in Venezuela, Perkins exposes a conspiracy of corruption that has fueled instability and anti-Americanism around the globe, with consequences reflected in our daily headlines. Having raised the alarm, Perkins passionately addresses how Americans can work to create a more peaceful and stable world for future generations.

I didn’t Do it For You
Scarred by decades of conflict and occupation, the craggy African nation of Eritrea has weathered the world’s longest-running guerrilla war. The dogged determination that secured victory against Ethiopia, its giant neighbor, is woven into the national psyche, the product of cynical foreign interventions. Fascist Italy wanted Eritrea as the springboard for a new, racially pure Roman empire; Britain sold off its industry for scrap; the United States needed a base for its state-of-the-art spy station; and the Soviet Union used it as a pawn in a proxy war. In I Didn’t Do It for You, Michela Wrong reveals the breathtaking abuses this tiny nation has suffered and, with a sharp eye for detail and a taste for the incongruous, tells the story of colonialism itself and how international power politics can play havoc with a country’s destiny.

Riding the Whirlwind: An Ethiopian Story of Love and Revolution
The main events of this novel occur in Ethiopia during the revolutionary period of 1969-1974, ending with the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie. The chief protagonist, Desta, is a well-placed official of the Emperor’s government who is a close confidant of the Prime Minister and is at the same time a member of an underground revolutionary movement. He also has a complicated love life. The tension implicit in his dual roles between his private and public life gives Desta’s odyssey its peculiar quality against a fascinating social milieu and political drama. Indeed, Desta, the narrator/participant, has the ability to get the reader’s interest by maintaining a wonderful balance between his dual roles.

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