Ten great books about Somalia we can’t live without

A lot has been said and written about Somalia, specially since the fall of its former military regime in 1991.
Since that time, hundreds of books have been authored about the place and countless numbers of studies conducted to try to understand one of the world’s most misunderstood countries.
Today, Gosahan takes you on a literary tour of Somalia , and presents to you the top 10 books written about the country :
10. The History of Somalia, by Raphael Njoku
Njoku’s book looks at the history of Somalia, from its pre-colonial period to the present day. It vividly depicts the tumultuous history of the east African nation which has and continues to face many challenges.
9. Pirates of Somalia, by Jay Bahadur
In Pirates of Somalia, Bahadur goes to Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in northeastern Somalia. The book talks about the lives of alleged Somali pirates beyond the attack skiffs. Bahadur takes a look at how they spend their money, how they conduct business and how they think.
8. The Invention of Somalia, by Ali Ahmed Jimale
This book looks into what the author calls the “basic assumptions which had informed the construction of the now discredited Somali myth”.
7. Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State, by Mary Harper
Harper, a veteran British journalist who frequently visits Somalia, presents an account of Somalia not heard of before.
Her book talks about how the outside world an the media portray Somalia. It also looks at the United States’ renewed involvement in the Horn of Africa nation.
6. Somalia : Economy without State, by Peter D Little
This book shows that Somalia is an extreme case of an economy without a government.
5. Humanitarianism Under Fire: The US and UN intervention in Somalia, by Ken Rutherford
This is a candid and detailed historical and political narrative of the remarkably complicated humanitarian interventions in Somalia which were one of the first cases of multilateral action in the post-Cold War era.
4. Somalia : The Missed Opportunities, by Mohamed Sahnoun
Sahnoun, a former UN special representative to Somalia, describes the tragedies that followed failed foreign interventions in the country.
3. The Last Camel: True Stories of Somalia, by Jeanne D’Heam
The author tells compelling tales about African spirits, clever women, untouchable Midgaans, sagacious elders who struggle with modern technology, bandits, and a few goats.
2. Warriors: Life and Death Among the Somalis By Gerald Hanley
Harley, a former British Army soldier in Somalia, gives a superb portrait of Somalia, a place inhabited by fiercely independent people. He describes the little known aspects of WWII and British Army attempts to mediate between rival Somali clans.
Here’s one of our favorite quotes from Harley’s book:
“Of all the races in Africa there cannot be one better to live among than the most difficult, the proudest, the bravest, the vainest, the most merciless, the friendliest, the Somalis.”
1. Only Half of Me, by Rageh Omaar
In Only Half of Me, Somali-British journalist and author Rageh Omaar describes his childhood experiences both in Somalia and the UK.
The author talks about two halves, one Somali and Muslim and the other British and European. The book vividly describes what forms Omaar’s own story and those of Somali Muslims closer to his family.

573 thoughts on “Ten great books about Somalia we can’t live without

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