Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 13 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Surrender or Starve: Trav... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The previous owners name is on the first page. No other writing or highlighting! The cover and pages have some minor wear, but otherwise the book is great. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to Thousands of happy customers. FAST SHIPPING! Ships direct from Amazon. Free shipping on orders over $35! And Free 2nd day shipping on orders over $49! Tracking number and Amazon customer service provided with every order.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea Paperback – November 11, 2003

3.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$15.95
$3.40 $0.01

Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio by Misha Glenny
True Crime Kingpin
An unflinching investigation into the tumultuous social, political, and economic landscape of modern-day Brazil. Learn more | See related books
$15.95 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 13 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea
  • +
  • The Ends of the Earth: From Togo to Turkmenistan, from Iran to Cambodia, a Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy
  • +
  • Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power
Total price: $39.13
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A writer of extraordinary intellect and passion . . .with a wonderfully lucid way of relating history as a living thing.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“This vivid account . . . tells very convincingly a story which the author claims was almost entirely ignored by Western media, diplomats, and relief officials. Kaplan paints a horrific picture of often fatal cruelty.” —Foreign Affairs

“Robert Kaplan is a scholarly and adventurous journalist. . . . He draws attention to long-term trends that other writers have little noted.” —The New York Times

“Kaplan is a gritty travel reporter and commentator on foreign affairs known for providing no-nonsense political-historical overviews of the dicey places he visits.” —The Washington Post Book World

From the Back Cover

“A writer of extraordinary intellect and passion . . .with a wonderfully lucid way of relating history as a living thing.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“This vivid account . . . tells very convincingly a story which the author claims was almost entirely ignored by Western media, diplomats, and relief officials. Kaplan paints a horrific picture of often fatal cruelty.” —Foreign Affairs

“Robert Kaplan is a scholarly and adventurous journalist. . . . He draws attention to long-term trends that other writers have little noted.” —The New York Times

“Kaplan is a gritty travel reporter and commentator on foreign affairs known for providing no-nonsense political-historical overviews of the dicey places he visits.” —The Washington Post Book World
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (November 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400034523
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400034529
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book details Kaplan's reporting from the African famine zones in the mid-1980s. While specific events are getting outdated, Kaplan does provide plenty of insight and realism about famine and power in Africa. This book mostly covers developments in Ethiopia, with important details on the separatist provinces of Tigre and Eritrea. Despite the book's subtitle, there is only some tangential coverage of Somalia as it related to events in Ethiopia at the time. Note that Somalia's well-publicized disasters hadn't happened yet. The same is true for coverage on Sudan, except for the latter parts of the book when obscure struggles in the inaccessible southern parts of the country caught Kaplan's attention. Also note that this new edition is supplemented with an enlightening update from the newly independent nation of Eritrea.
What matters most in this book in Kaplan's use of realism when interpreting events in the Horn of Africa, as he has done in all his other books covering various hellholes around the developing world. While the famines in the mid-80s shocked the world, most Western people (and governments) thought that drought was the unavoidable culprit. However, Kaplan proves through ground-level experience that the famines were really the outcome of murderous political policies, as food (and the withholding of it) was used as a weapon by the ruling regimes to control dissident groups, while never-ending civil wars and power politics impeded distribution of aid money and supplies.
Beware that this book nearly collapses in Part 4 as Kaplan analyzes the actions of the US and USSR when the Horn became embroiled in Cold War politics.
Read more ›
Comment 32 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Kaplan's book "Balkan Ghosts" was described by slavist H. Cooper (Slavic Review 52, 1993) as "a dreadful mix of unfounded generalizations, misinformation, outdated sources, personal prejudices and bad writing". The same can be applied to "Surrender or starve". Any specialist could point dozens of minor errors in this book, but lack of scholarship is not the worst. Kaplan is exasperatingly tendentious and partial and his extraordinary simplification and misunderstanding of the conflict in the Horn is outrageous. He overemphasizes the ethnic component, sometimes dangerously approaching racism in his contempt for the Amharas (they are all intrinsically bad). To be sure, the Derg (the communist regime) was evil, but linking a particular culture (the Amharas) with a transient political regime that was imposed against the people's will is absolutely wrong. Besides, anyone minimally informed knows how many Amharas suffered by the resettlement policies of the Derg.

Worst of all, Kaplan embraces the politics he presumedly criticizes: "Surrender or starve" is not the slogan of the former Ethiopian communist regime, it is Kaplan's own motto. According to the author, we should have left 10 million Ethiopians starve in 1984-85, so as to foster a local rebellion against communist rule! To put it bluntly, this book is scholarly defective and morally despicable.

Forget Kaplan. If you really want to be informed about the complex reality of Ethiopia and neighboring countries, take a look at any of the books written by historians Bahru Zewde and Harold G. Marcus or by anthropologist Donald Donham. And if you want to be informed and at the same time enjoy a superb literary experience go for Ryszard Kapuscinski's "The Emperor"!
4 Comments 38 of 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Kaplan takes Henry Kissinger's concept of "realpolitik" to another order of magnitude: Kaplan argues that the West has been incredibly naive in obsessing over starving Africans. The theme of his book is that the African elites themselves don't care about starvation among out-of-favor minority groups, and in many instances, such as Ethiopia and Sudan, governments intend starvation to happen. In such cases, foreign aid does not reach the intended recipients and does not win any friends for the West. The book's scope is limited to the countries named in the title. The title is a bit misleading, however, in suggesting that this is a travel narrative. Instead, it is a political analysis, although Kaplan does describe what it is like to visit impoverished, war-torn regions of Sudan and Ethiopia where few journalists dare to tread.

Eritrea is the one country that receives unabashed, effusive praise from Kaplan. I question whether any nation can be as noble and high-minded as Kaplan portrays the Eritreans, but if there is any truth in his descriptions, Eritrea provides an example of what Africans can accomplish despite war, colonialism, religious diversity, and starvation.
Comment 16 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Kaplan's Surrender or Starve is a fascinating, albeit difficult at times, read on the war-torn Horn of Africa during the late 70s and early 80s. I grew up during those years, and I remember reading horrific stories of starvation and death in Ethiopia, but I had no real awareness of the whys and whos involved in the tragedy. Kaplan attempts here to address just those points, and his basic thesis is the debunking of the idea that this was a "tragedy" in the sense that most of us would use that world - this wasn't some unavoidable fallout from nature and outdated farming practices, it was the intentional result of years of systemic oppression and subjugation of various ethnic groups to collectivization and the like. The book does not deal with events in strictly chronological order - it is rather an overview-by-travelogue introduction to the various players and groups involved in the messy conflicts that leap across borders which seem tenuous at best. As a tyro in the history of this area, I was at times confused by this approach - it was hard to divine the common thread of Kaplan's these at times, and the book has a disconcertingly disjointed feel to it. But this approach also works well in some other respects, namely in the way it lets Kaplan pull in so many players onto one stage without turning the book into a mere catalogue. It's fairly readable, and I was torn between giving it three and four stars. In the end, I decided that Kaplan's realpolitik approach to how things should have been done, in his opinion, smacked at times too much of facile armchair quarterbacking - this is where a deeper chronological approach would have, I think, helped him make his points better and tie them more clearly to the narrative. But don't get me wrong - this is very much a worthwhile read about a neglected region.
Comment 6 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea
This item: Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea
Price: $15.95
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: a year without a purchase