The Bottom Line
- Excellent prose style draws you in to the history.
- Wide-ranging research, peppered with first-hand anecdotes.
- Sympathetic to the plight of Eritreans without being sentimental.
- Maintains a good pace, you'll be reluctant to put the book down.
- At 432 pages, you are only given a whirlwind tour of Eritrea's history.
- Hardback book, ISBN 0060780924, published by HarperCollins in USA.
- Paperback book, 432 pages, ISBN 0007150954, published by Harper Perennial in the UK.
- Michela Wrong has spent over a decade covering the African continent for Reuters, the BBC, etc.
- Michela Wrong's first book "In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz" is also a must-read.
Guide Review - Book Review: I Didn't Do It For You
Michela Wrong has written an un-put-downable book about the trials and tribulations of this little country, used as a pawn by Europe during its empire-building period, and then as a safe, distant battlefield by the USA and USSR during the Cold War. And all the way through, Eritreans, who looked in vain for international aid and support, were forced to commit themselves totally to the battle for independence. The story of their struggle is magnificent, the passion and the sacrifice ordinary Eritreans made, finally winning a 30 years war of independence first against the American-backed Ethiopia of Haile Salassie, and then the Soviet-backed regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam.I Didn't Do It For You is one of those rare books which balances story telling, history, passion, interest, information, and lack of bias, so well you are left feeling stunned at the end. Eritrea's roller-coaster ride through tawdry international diplomacy, kicked between super-powers like a football, and dropped without the slightest compassion, should leave Westerners feeling ashamed they could behave this way. And perhaps to recognise that little has changed in the way the West wheels and deals with unsophisticated African nations.
The sadness of this book is that when all their hopes and dreams finally look to be achievable, Eritrea suffers the African disease, and a strong nationalist leader succumbs to the corrupting effect of too much power.