"It's hard to imagine another African country that was interfered with by foreign powers quite so thoroughly, and so disastrously, as Eritrea," the small African nation that recently fought a successful guerilla war of liberation against the much larger Ethiopia, according to journalist Wrong. In this work she intersperses descriptions of her own travels in Eritrea with a history of its experiences with Italian colonial exploitation in the Martini and Mussolini eras, British post-war looting of the country's assets, American and Soviet manipulation in the context of the Cold War, UN exacerbation of the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, and the national liberation war. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Although Ms. Wrong, as a reporter, stepped into Eritrean history during the heady days of independence, her most gripping pages deal with the colonial period and the battle of Keren, which she recounts in pulse-pounding prose. Badly outnumbered, British forces managed to take the citadel-like Keren, suffering appalling losses. This was a turning point. For the first time, Ms. Wrong argues, the Allies showed that the Axis war machine could be beaten; yet, typically, Keren ranks as one of the least-celebrated engagements of the Second World War.