Cover image for Me against my brother : at war in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda : a journalist reports from the battlefields of Africa
Me against my brother : at war in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda : a journalist reports from the battlefields of Africa
Peterson, Scott, 1966-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxii, 357 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DT407.4 .P48 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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As a foreign correspondent, Scott Peterson witnessed firsthand Somalia's descent into war and its battle against US troops, the spiritual degeneration of Sudan's Holy War, and one of the most horrific events of the last half century: the genocide in Rwanda. In Me Against My Brother, he brings these events together for the first time to record a collapse that has had an impact far beyond African borders.In Somalia, Peterson tells of harrowing experiences of clan conflict, guns and starvation. He met with warlords, observed death intimately and nearly lost his own life to a Somali mob. From ground level, he documents how the US-UN relief mission devolved into all out war - one that for America has proven to be the most formative post-Cold War debacle. In Sudan, he journeys where few correspondents have ever been, on both sides of that religious front line, to find that outside "relief" has only prolonged war. In Rwanda, his first-person experience of the genocide and well-documented analysis provide rare insight into this human tragedy.Filled with the dust, sweat and powerful detail of real-life, Me Against My Brother graphically illustrates how preventive action and a better understanding of Africa - especially by the US - could have averted much suffering. Also includes a 16-page color insert.

Author Notes

Scott Peterson is currently the Middle East correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Peterson, now Christian Science Monitor's Middle East correspondent, spent much of the 1990s wandering across Africa for the London Daily Telegraph. There were positive stories to be covered; an end to apartheid in South Africa, for example. But Peterson reports here on the more painful, challenging stories of Africa in the '90s: Somalia's "Warlords Triumphant"; the "Endless Crusade" of civil war in Sudan; and the genocidal "Machete War" in Rwanda. These are tales of war and war crimes, of food shortages and international relief efforts, of devastating terror and astonishing resilience. Peterson thoughtfully assesses the consequences of UN intervention in Somalia (and failure to intervene in Sudan and Rwanda); he offers nuanced analysis of the argument that international food aid has extended war in the Sudan, and suggests Western nations alternate between arrogance and indifference in their dealings with Africa. A worthy new contribution to the study of disruption in the developing world as a counterweight to dreams of a "new world order." --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

Peterson files this report from the front lines of three of Africa's most virulent wars of the 1990s. It has the immediacy and vividness of eyewitness testimony, because Peterson, who was reporting from Africa for London's Daily Telegraph, was present at the scenes of battle, recording his impressions as the carnage went forward. His reporting is visceral and close to the ground: "in the dust and the sweat, and the laughter mixed with misery that permeates the flavor of war in Africa." In Somalia, he observed how clan hatreds, combined with grossly excessive arms shipments from the developed nations, resulted in an explosion of anarchy and violence. The U.S. comes in for a substantial share of blame for its ill-considered, violent and ultimately disastrous intervention. In the Sudan, Peterson witnessed what he calls an apocalyptic civil war in which neither side was strong enough to win or weak enough to lose. Rwanda was even worse; at the height of the Hutu war of extermination against the Tutsis, one murder took place about every two seconds for an entire month. In his firsthand account of these genocidal conflicts, Peterson neither flinches from the appalling bloodshed nor closes his mind to the many scenes of generosity and honorable conduct he also witnessed. The author's purpose is made clear in the book's introduction: the catastrophic wars of Africa, "largely unrecorded, ...require exploring for what they tell us about the human capacity to conduct evil, and also to survive it." With tribal, ethnic and religious conflicts now so pervasive, the lessons Peterson communicates about Africa should claim the attention of everyone trying to make sense of today's world. 16 pages of color photos not seen by PW. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Most journalists will witness perhaps one major crisis and report it in detail. Peterson, currently Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, experienced three major catastrophes in as many countries between 1992 and 1994. This affecting book provides an inside look at the crises in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda. Peterson spends half of the book detailing the failed mission in famine-stricken Somalia, where the U.S. military failed to unarm the warlords, favoring instead a "plucking the bird" strategyDthat is, taking one feather at a time until the unsuspecting bird finds that it can't fly. Unfortunately, this strategy drew the U.S. military into a battle it could not win. Peterson covered the battles and nearly got killed by a mob that wanted revenge on an American. In the Sudan, he had the rare privilege of visiting both sides of the religious holy war to see how the people lived and how the fighters are recruited. And he also reported the genocide that occurred in Rwanda; he not only describes the tragedy that led to the mass killings but provides some thoughtful analysis. For African history or journalism collections.DMichael Sawyer, Northwestern Regional Lib., Elkin, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Peterson, correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, rivets one's attention on that brutal and senseless violence of the 1990s perpetrated by indigenous peoples and connived at by foreign governments and the UN. For Somalia, Peterson pinpoints the villainy: clan and subclan system; countless weapons left over from Soviet and then US assistance to dictator Barre; US obsession with hunting down General Aidid. For Sudan, Peterson illuminates factors for incessant civil war: the Khartoum government's remorseless drive to impose Islamic law; interminable splits among the rebellious southerners; foreign relief agencies' contributing to the strife's continuation. Concerning Rwanda's holocaust, Peterson describes causes: German and Belgian colonial authorities falsifying history; Hutu plans for Tutsi extermination; the Roman Catholic hierarchy's involvement; US, French, and UN complicity. Peterson buttresses his eyewitness accounts about Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda with careful choices of secondary sources. The resulting analysis superbly exposes war criminals in the three countries but also assigns guilt internationally: Presidents Clinton and Mitterand; US Ambassador Albright; UN Secretaries-General Perez de Cuellar and Boutros-Ghali, and Undersecretary-General Annan. Good print, instructive maps, well-captioned photos, helpful index. A book for all humanity. E. E. Beauregard; emeritus, University of Dayton

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Mapsp. xxiii
Part I Somalia: Warlords Triumphant
1 Laws of Warp. 3
2 "City of the Insane"p. 19
3 A Land Forgotten By Godp. 37
4 "Club Skinny--Dancers Wanted"p. 51
5 "Camp of the Murderers"p. 71
6 The Fugitivep. 93
7 Bloody Mondayp. 117
8 Mission Impossiblep. 137
9 Back to Zerop. 157
Part II Sudan: Endless Crusade
10 Divided By Godp. 173
11 War of the Crossp. 197
12 The False Messiahp. 217
13 Darwin Deceivedp. 229
Part III Rwanda: The Machete War
14 A Holocaustp. 247
15 "Dreadful Note of Preparation"p. 267
16 Genocide Deniedp. 289
17 In Perpetuump. 303
Epiloguep. 323
Notesp. 329
Indexp. 351