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Emma's War


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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.


'Ever since Victorian abolitionists and Christian missionaries traveled to Khartoum in the 19th century, the British aid worker, whether liberal do-gooder or conservative God-giver, has sought, many times over, to help Sudan's helpless. As Deborah Scroggins shows in her brilliantly penetrating portrait of one such worker, Emma McCune, those who think they are helping are more often than not harming. And those they are harming are far less helpless than their would-be rescuers have wanted to know. In her, Scroggins has found a feckless, captivating subject, as insufferable as the white man's insatiable need for redemption in Africa' Washington Post 'Deborah Scroggins uses the romantic aspects of this beautiful white woman's story to draw in unsuspecting readers. But she has a sharp eye, and her real aim is to tease out the inconsistencies of Emma McCune's brutally short life as a way of looking at how foreigners through the ages have involved themselves in the Sudan...Emma's War is about the politics of the belly, and what happens when the fat white paunch meets the swollen stomachs of the hungry in Africa. It is a sorry story, but Ms Scroggins tells it awfully well' Economist 'Emma's dreams, delusions and failures are those of all the white people who have tried to bring their idea of the good to Sudan. This is what makes her story, told so well here, worth telling' New York Times Book Review 'The most revealing book on Africa and the West's obsession with it that I have read in several years' --Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Ends of the Earth and The Coming Anarchy

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