View Full Version : Good book on Ethiopia-Eritrea War

09-04-2007, 06:43 PM
Stumbled across this the other day,
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200304/kaplan , it's obviously pretty one-sided on Eritrea, but peaked my interest. Can anyone recommend a good book on Eritrea's war for independence, primarily focused on the military side of it ideally?

09-04-2007, 07:49 PM
"Against All Odds" by Dan Connell is one of the classic books on the war. Dan is a journalist, but he was there during the (30-year) war and interviewed a lot of people involved. Pro-Eritrean, but well done.

"2 Weeks in the Trenches" by Alemseged Tesfai. I don't know much about this book, but Tesfai was a soldier in the Eritrean army (before he became a scholar).

I don't know of anything specifically written from a military point of view.

09-05-2007, 10:34 AM
I wanted to add one more thing. There is a lack of documented military history in English b/c there were really very few Western observers of the war (as far as I know). The previously mentioned Connell was one and there were others (most didn't write articles or books).

The other side of it is that the war stories have been passed on by word of mouth and have become legends. When I was in Eritrea, I heard a lot of war stories. The one I remember best if of a battle (I think it was Anseba) between Agordat and Nakfa where the Eritrean ground forces repelled the Ethiopian forces. As Ethiopia retreated through the narrow river valley and up and out through a very narrow opening, they were followed by Eritrean forces. Eritreans had very little armor, but they did have a tank or two. In this case, one Eritrean tank took aim and by sheer luck (they would say providence) the shell destroyed the lead vehicle in the column, thus blocking the exit of the Ethiopian forces. As the story goes, in order to prevent the rapidly closing Eritreans from capturing these vehicles, the Ethiopian commander called in an air strike to destroy them.

Now, I've seen that supposed Eritrean tank and I've seen various military vehicles burned and destroyed along that road and in that valley. There was a battle there and I saw the evidence, but what actually happened?

Here's a few more internet resources on the war, battles and heroes. The information you're likely to find is going to be like this on these types of sites (pro-Eritrean or pro-Ethiopian).




09-05-2007, 01:12 PM
Thanks for the help. I've put Connell's book on my Amazon wishlist, will tackle that soon. Seems that no true military history of the conflict has been written in English.