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Darfur: A New History of a Long War (African Arguments) [Paperback]

by Julie Flint, Alex de Waal
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 13, 2008 1842779508 978-1842779507 2nd
The humanitarian tragedy in Darfur has stirred politicians, Hollywood celebrities and students to appeal for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Beyond the horrific pictures of sprawling refugee camps and lurid accounts of rape and murder lies a complex history steeped in religion, politics, and decades of internal unrest. 
Darfur traces the origins, organization and ideology of the infamous Janjawiid and other rebel groups, including the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. It also analyzes the confused responses of the Sudanese government and African Union. This thoroughly updated edition also features a powerful analysis of how the conflict has been received in the international community and the varied attempts at peacekeeping.  


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Editorial Reviews


"The best introduction...their accounts are as readable as they are tragic."--Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Review of Books
"This brilliant book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the complex history of Darfur and how the very name became synonymous with suffering." --Mia Farrow
'Alex de Waal and Julie Flint have written the definitive history of the Darfur conflict.  Very detailed and thoroughly documented from first hand sources, the book will quickly become a classic and will correct some of the outside misperceptions of who did what to whom and why.  They have written a balanced account of a very disturbing story, made more confused by government and rebel propaganda, by letting participants and eyewitness observers tell their stories.' - Andrew Natsios, Former Administrator of USAID and US Special Envoy to Sudan

'This is among the best works available on the current Darfur crisis.  For a blow by blow account of developments, there is none better.' - Mahmood Mamdani, University of Columbia

About the Author

Alex de Waal is a writer and activist on African issues. He is a fellow of the Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University; Director of the Social Science Research Council program on AIDS and social transformation; and a Director of Justice Africa in London. He lives in Boston. 
Julie Flint is a journalist and filmmaker. She has covered topics from Colombia to China and has won several awards. She has been writing about Sudan since 1992, initially as Horn of Africa correspondent for The Guardian and later as a freelance with a special interest in human rights. She divides her time between London and the Middle East. 

Product Details

  • Series: African Arguments
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books; 2nd edition (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842779508
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842779507
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and excellent September 19, 2007
People professionally concerned with genocide prevention and Darfur recommended this short but outstanding book (there are quite a few others on the crisis) when I needed to supplement my knowledge quickly. Its 134 pages of condensed information are based on prolonged and detailed work in the region and with people who know it well. The complexity of Darfur and its crisis as well as its relationship to other regions of Sudan emerge with balance, but with a clear picture of the horrors being committed. It enlarged my knowledge greatly beyond what I had gleaned from the media and a few days spent with some refugees from Darfur. It discusses events up to early 2005, its publication year, so is not quite up to date. The experts recommended it despite pointing this out, and I'm glad they did.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Comprehesive Book on Darfur!! October 18, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my class on Conflict and Conflict Resolution at San Diego State.
This book is very detailed giving all the background on Sudan the country, its different tribes and groups as well as all of the individuals who have held or are seeking power in Sudan.

The book also highlights the regional players and their modivations such as Libya, Chad, Eriteria who are seeking to keep Sudan destablized for their own personal gain.

The authors do an excellent job of also bring to light the international aspects as well as the local and national issues the helped to create the circumstances of the first civil war/ conflict of north vs south Sudan and then Darfur. Not to mention the problems that stem from the international communties poor foresight when it came to resolving the North vs. South Sudan issues and the treaty that has made it impossible to truly resolve the Darfur conflict. Also how the international community and aid agencies shot themselves in the foot by labeling Darfur a genocide - spending more time documenting the genocide than helping people get food and water in that barren land.

However the one criticism I have of this book is the amount of shifting between different eras in history, players (wait till you get to the part about SLA vs SPLA vs SLA W vs SLA M) essentially you need a felt board like they use in military strategies to keep track of the players and their movements around Sudan.

I however despite my critisims highly recommend this book as a primer for anyone interested in Sudan and the root issues of Darfur.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading September 1, 2008
The 2008 edition of Darfur: A New History of a Long War, by Julie Flint and Alex de Waal, is an essential reading about the current conflict in Darfur. The book gives a short overview of the history of Darfur and its people - from independent sultanate, annexation by the Anglo-Egyptian condominium, colonial times, to Sudan's independence.

Authors blame the British colonialists and Sudanese governments after independence for the lack of development in Darfur. They assert that Arab supremacy and racism, preached from Libya and the Sudanese capital, have caused divisions and animosity between "Arabs" and "Africans" in Darfur in the 1980s and 1990s, culminating with the conflict that began in 2003.

Flint and de Waal closely look at the links between the Sudanese government and "Arab" militias, called Janjaweed, claiming that there is enough evidence that proves that the government of Sudan is using the militias as a proxy in the Darfur conflict. They write about the Darfur rebel movements and their leaders, noting tribal divisions among the rebels and the crimes committed by the "African" rebels against "Arab" civilians.

Authors examine the international community's reaction to the conflict and the Abuja peace talks that culminated in 2006 with the Darfur Peace Agreement that was signed by the Sudanese government and only one rebel faction, but did not bring peace. They end the book with a chapter titled Endless Chaos, having little hope that the Darfur conflict could be ended any time soon.

It is important to note that the authors, for whatever reason, have not mentioned China once in the entire book. As a major world player that has oil interests in Sudan and is preventing any sanctions or condemnation of the Khartoum regime, China must be mentioned in a book about the current conflict in Darfur.
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24 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instructive look at Darfur March 31, 2007
By Chris
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are plenty of serious human rights abuses in Africa which Westerners, particularly American corporations and arms dealers have strong complicity in: the 4 million dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia under Meles Zenawi, Equatorial Guinea under Teodor Obiang, Chad under Idriss Deby, Uganda under Museveni. One can also mention the horrors of the neoliberal economic model which African governments have followed so studiously. But Sudan and Zimbabwe seem to take up 90 percent of recent Western media reporting about abuses in the region. Both governments, vile as they certainly are, have struck independent courses via US power over the years and so are demonized in the US media. Former Senator John Danforth, US ambassador to the UN in 2004, stated on British tv in 2005 that the main reason the Bush administration made noises about Darfur in the election year of 04' was to please the voting block of fundamentalist Christians who have long believed the Sudanese regime to be satanic.

There is plenty of stuff in this book about the barbaric atrocities of the Sudanese government and the Janjiweed, the paramilitary force which acts as a proxy for the Sudanese military in Darfur.. In Darfur, the driving Arab supremacist ideology was rooted in the "Arab Gathering" group which emerged under the backing of Colonel Qadaffi of Libya in the 70's and 80's. Many in Sudan's government have been influenced by this ideology. The authors provide much quotation from these brethren who stress the need to make Darfur a purely Arab homeland and to cleanse it of non-Arab elements. Qadaffi funded the Sudanese Islamist/Arab nationalist groups Ansar and Muslim Brothers against his enemy, Sudan's then dictator Jafarr Nimieri in the 70's and early 80's.
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