In this impressive book, Deborah Scroggins manages to weave the frustrating tale of Emma's life and death and the complicated history of Sudanese politics into a thoughtful, engrossing read.
Emma McCune's life was one of unending melodrama. She was born in India, moved to England at two, and was affluently raised in Yorkshire by parents whose lifestyle exceeded their means. They lived in a draughty mansion until her father committed suicide when Emma was 11; the surviving family then moved into a council flat. This did not stop Emma from pursuing the life of privilege her parents felt was owed to them: she went to Oxford and took a year to fly around the world in a single-engine plane with a friend.
It was at Oxford that adventure called to Emma: she fell in love with Africa, specifically Sudan, and tried desperately to obtain a position in the bush. Abandoning a master's degree for a position with Street Kids International, she set off to create schools in southern Sudan.
There she met and married Riek Machar, a separatist warlord whose actions and orders murdered thousands, if not millions, of innocent Sudanese. Scroggins tries to be as fair as possible when presenting all viewpoints regarding Emma's marriage. In Riek, Emma managed to marry the African man she found so seductive, and in Emma, Riek enjoyed the status of a white wife with ties to various relief efforts operating in Sudan.
Emma claimed to be Sudanese at heart and embraced the desperate way of life, enduring numerous diseases, massacres and death threats as she threw herself into her husband's political movement. Her life was notorious: she lived like an African queen in surroundings that are incomprehensible to Westerners, and both she and the people who loved her expected great things from her unborn child.
This is an insightful, sensitive and powerfully written biography of a woman whose motivations may have seemed dubious, but whose sincerity and devotion were beyond question. Kirkus UK. Rugby union. Motor racing. US sports. Rugby League. Geoffrey Macnab. Tech news. Tech culture. News videos. Explainer videos.
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Emma's War - Love, Betrayal and Death in the Sudan (Paperback, New Ed)
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Emma's War: Love, Betrayal and Death in the Sudan
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Get ready for Prime Day with the Amazon App. No purchase necessary. Get started. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. Editorial Reviews From The New Yorker In , in the middle of a refugee crisis in southern Sudan, a twenty-seven-year-old British aid worker named Emma McCune scandalized the relief community by marrying a local guerrilla leader; the author describes Emma's brief career as a "First Lady-in-Waiting" as "the kind of surreal sideshow that often accompanies disasters. Although she embraced the hardships of African life bouts of malaria, water teeming with bilharzia , she was well-fed by local standards, eating fish that her husband's soldiers had stolen from a weaker, starving tribe.
Meanwhile, Emma's fellow-expatriates grew less enchanted with her the more "African" she became—sick and constantly in need. Scroggins, a veteran reporter on Sudan, uses Emma's story to examine the failure of Western idealism in Africa. Emma turned out to be an incidental character: she died in , in a traffic accident in Nairobi; the fighting continues. An eye-opener.
Emma's War: betrayal and death in the Sudan by Deborah Scroggins | The Independent
Scroggins is as brave as her subject It is the story both of a woman and a strange and sorrowful world. Scroggins steers a tight path between writing this book as an account of her own fascination with Sudan and as the story of McCune's life. It is a sorry story, but Ms Scroggins tells it awfully well. See all Editorial Reviews. Not Enabled. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention aid workers emma war emma mccune civil war deborah scroggins well written south sudan humanitarian aid became involved history of sudan southern sudan story of emma sudanese warlord put the book emma seemed book well going to sudan war in the sudan read this book africa.
Showing of 39 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. I think not. Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Deborah Scroggins wades into the complexities of Sudanese politics and armed strife and makes them digestible through her own personal story and that of Emma, a young British women who is deeply attracted to Africa and African men.
It should be required reading for any Westerner who embraces a cause Darfur, Palestine, the Arab Spring, etc. For the most part, Scroggins is quite clear sighted, but gets a bit muddled in her critique of the international aid machine. On the one hand, she criticizes it for lack of long term commitment and seriousness, but on the other finds fault with almost everything it does Emma's husband, Riek Machar, continues to be a major player in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan - going on for three decades now - along with John Garang, his main rival.
For them, civil war isn't something to be resolved; it is what fuels their power. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. Welcome to Sudan. The ravaged country, its society torn apart by endless war, as if cursed with every possible curse - Ethnic strife, widespread corruption, religious warfare, famine - and that Modern curse, the one that makes powerful foreigners interested: oil. Deborah Scoggins uses the story of Emma McCune, a young Englishwoman who - obsessed with Sudan, its people, and its men, came to marry a Sudanese warlord, to shed light on the forsaken land, and of the people who populate it - not merely the Sudanese themselves, but also, perhaps especially, the Westerners who come to "save" them.
Scoggins sees continuity between the present day Aid workers, Journalists and other do-gooders and the Western Imperialists of the 19th century.
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Like their Imperialists forerunners, the white aid-workers become immediate elite, separated and elevated above the population by the color of their skin.