Photo of Nuer girls by joodmc used under a Creative Commons license.
Deborah Scroggins, Emma’s War (Vintage, 2004).
Emma McCune, beautiful and idealistic, went to Sudan as a relief worker in 1989. Within a couple of years she married Riek Machar, a commander of one faction of the rebels in Sudan’s long-running civil war. The war in Darfur gets more attention now, but for years a conflict has simmered between the Islamic north, which controls the national government, and the Christian south. McCune married into this conflict, a choice that eventually forced her away from relief organizations. This story of her life is worth reading for what it reveals about how relief organizations work in Africa and for its window onto the tragic politics of southern Sudan.
Multiple reviews on this page: Sondra Hale (Women’s Review of Books), George Packer (The New York Times), Kevin Rushby (The Guardian), Geraldine Bedell (The Observer), Clay Evans (The Sacramento Bee), Bernadette Murphy (The L.A. Times), Lesley McDowell (Sunday Herald), an unnamed reviewer in The Economist, Justin Marozzi (The Daily Telegraph), and Sam Kiley (The Evening Standard). Among the other things on this page is a review by Venetia Ansell (Contemporary Review). Here more reviews from Michelle Goldberg (Salon), Nana Yaa Mensah (The New Statesman), and Julie Flint (The Independent). And here is more good stuff from Rebekah Heacock, Lindsay Beyerstein, Virginia Stem Owens, Sara, and Mercato. Over here you can listen to Scroggins talk about McCune and the book on BBC Radio.