Emma's War: Love, Betrayal and Death in the Sudan

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9780002570275: Emma's War: Love, Betrayal and Death in the Sudan

Glamorous aid worker Emma McCune conformed to none of the stereotypes: although driven and committed to her work she was at least partially attracted to Africa because it enabled her to live in a style she could not achieve in Britain, and she was famous in East Africa for wearing mini-skirts and for her affairs with African men. Initially much admired, if also suspect for her social flair, she appalled the aid community with her marriage to a local warlord, who was deeply enmeshed in both rebellion and murder. She had fallen in love and, a rebel to the end, she insisted on following her feelings, even if it left her rejected by her fellow worker and in an ambiguous position - was she on the side of the refugees or the warmongers? This biography is also an evocation of the complexities and horrors of the Sudan, where Gordon of Khartoum lost his life and possibly his sanity campaigning against the slave trade, and where today life is so harsh that desperate families sell their children into slavery, hoping for a better life for the child, and hopeless children volunteer to be sold, grabbing at any opportunity for change, however slight, where boys grow up aspiring to be child soldiers and men dedicate their babies to war. Impotent among the dead and the dying, the well-educated, well-paid Western aid workers who try to impose order on this maelstrom are inevitably doomed to failure and, sometimes, are even complicit in creating human misery.

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From the Inside Flap:

Tall, striking, and adventurous to a fault, young British relief worker Emma McCune came to Sudan determined to make a difference in a country decimated by the longest-running civil war in Africa. She became a near legend in the bullet-scarred, famine-ridden country, but her eventual marriage to a rebel warlord made international headlines and spelled disastrous consequences for her ideals.

Enriched by Deborah Scroggins's firsthand experience as an award-winning journalist in Sudan, this unforgettable account of Emma McCune's tragically short life also provides an up-close look at the volatile politics in the region. It's a world where international aid fuels armies as well as the starving population, and where the northern-based Islamic government with ties to Osama bin Laden is locked in a war with the Christian and pagan south over religion, oil and slaves. Tying together these vastly disparate forces as well as Emma's own role in the problems of the region, Emma's War is at once a disturbing love story and a fascinating exploration of the moral quandaries behind humanitarian aid.

About the Author:

Deborah Scroggins won six national journalism awards for her reporting from the Sudan and the Middle East. A former correspondent at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, she has published articles in Granta and the Independent. She lives in Atlanta.

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