Ethiopia at Bay: A Personal Account of the Haile Sellassie Years

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Ethiopia at Bay: A Personal Account of the Haile Sellassie Years

By John H. Spencer
Reference Publications, 1984
397 pp. $24.95
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An American legal adviser to Haile Sellassie for more than 40 years spins an intricate tale of intrigue-international and imperial-involving Italy's seizure of Ethiopia in 1936, the British occupation during World War II, U.N. maneuvering on Eritrea and the Ogaden, agreements on U.S. facilities and aid programs. The book constitutes a significant primary source in its first-hand account by a meticulously observant insider. What emerges is a picture of Ethiopia, and the Emperor, slowly crushed between Arab-backed insurgencies in the two disputed territories-with the U.S. steadfastly refusing to take a firm stand on behalf of its client. Sellassie himself seems partly subtle and charismatic politician, partly inhabitant of Oz-a mythic but finally entirely self-deceived leader of an ancient, proud people.