In This Review

Losing Mogadishu: Testing U.S. Policy in Somalia
Losing Mogadishu: Testing U.S. Policy in Somalia
By Jonathan Stevenson
Naval Institute Press, 1995, 183 pp

If you have time to read only one book on Somalia, this should probably not be it, but set among the growing literature on the U.N.-U.S. intervention in the early 1990s, it adds new perspectives and opinions that some will find interesting. The author, a journalist who is not hesitant to make policy judgments, argues that Operation Restore Hope was a costly mistake (looking for an easy success, President Bush drew the United States into an imprudent adventure); that U.S. commanders misread the dire realities of Somali culture ("these are people born and immersed in a culture of treachery and reprisal"); and that the Somalia experience demonstrates the case for a permanent U.N. peacekeeping force. Along the way, what is often a sensible discussion of the events of 1992-94 gets nearly drowned in an unpalatable sauce of battlefront journalese.