Excerpt from There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

There Is No Me Without You

One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's Children

by Melissa Fay Greene

There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2007, 496 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


A landlocked country (since 1993, when, by popular referendum, Eritrea became Africa’s fifty-third sovereign state and Ethiopia became Africa’s fifteenth landlocked state), Ethiopia’s huge population, droughts and food crises, nonindustrial means of production, huge debt-service obligations, massive military spending, ongoing border disputes with Eritrea, and state ownership of land all foil and baffle development experts and keep the people rural, unemployed, and destitute.

The Ethiopian populace has struggled again and again to install democratic leaders who will promote industrialization, education, and civil equality; but the citizenry has been repeatedly disappointed.

In 1995, Ethiopia’s first multiparty elections made Meles Zenawi prime minister and awarded his Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) a legislative majority. But the government—the first in Ethiopia’s history with democratic pretensions—has been unable to steer a path toward industrialization, economic growth, and human rights. Recurrent cycles of drought, food shortages, and famine inspire critics of the government to call, in vain, for land reform and for agricultural modernization as stepping-stones to development.

“In a country where good governance does not exist and where the government is the land- and business-owner and the people are tenants, it is difficult to imagine that the private sector would prosper,” said Lidetu Ayalew, secretary general of the opposition Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), last year.

“After fourteen years or so of leadership by the EPRDF, up to twenty percent of the country’s sixty-five million people are not able to eat even once a day,” said Berhane Mewa, president of the Ethiopian and Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce.

Instead the administration has veered toward ethnic politics (the singling out for promotion of the Tigrayan people—the prime minister’s ethnic group—as if others were rivals), saber rattling toward Eritrea, and the silencing of journalists and opposition voices. “Land will remain state-owned as long as the EPRDF is at the helm of the country’s leadership,” Meles has said. Border disputes with Eritrea spur massive military spending: the escalation into war in 1998 cost the government $2 million a day; in 2000, the defense budget exceeded $800 million.

Health and education budgets decline correspondingly whenever there is a military buildup. Funding for social and health sectors has expanded since 2000, but remains far below what is desperately required. Even across sub-Saharan Africa, health spending is about ten dollars per person per year, while, in Ethiopia, government spending on health, per person per year in 2002, was two dollars.

Thus victims of polio and malaria and HIV/AIDS and cancer, and the blind and the lepers, and the mentally ill and the malnourished, and the orphans and the dying, roam the streets of the capital city, or lie on its sidewalks, defeated.

Twice in the twentieth century, Ethiopia overthrew its authoritarian rulers: Emperor Haile Selassie was toppled by a Communist coup led by Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1974; and then Mengistu was overthrown by Meles Zenawi and the EPRDF in 1991. Both revolutions came with horrendous bloodshed.

To watch Meles’s government turn dictatorial and martial is a source of momentous disappointment and discontent.

Neither the child nor the father was at home, we discovered. We also discovered that “home” was a pile of dirty rags and plastic bags on the sidewalk, a few feet from a bus stop. Scraps of corrugated tin and wood had been tied together to make a low fence around the filthy bedding. “He was born here, his mother gave birth to him right here,” said Gerrida.

Excerpted from There Is No Me Without You, (c) 2006 Melissa Fay Greene. Reproduced with permission of the publisher, Bloomsbury USA/Walker & Co. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Perfect Little World
    Perfect Little World
    by Kevin Wilson
    It might be the beginning of a tragic story: Izzy Poole falls in love with her mentally unstable ...
  • Book Jacket: Pachinko
    Pachinko
    by Min Jin Lee
    Pachinko has one of the best opening lines I've encountered in some time: "History has failed us, ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Summer Before the War
    by Helen Simonson
    Set on the cusp of World War I, The Summer Before the War exudes strength and spirit as a small town...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
June
by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

A novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake that changed a family forever.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    I See You
    by Clare Mackintosh

    A dark and compelling thriller about an everyday woman trapped in the confines of her everyday world.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A Piece of the World
    by Christina Baker Kline

    A stunning novel of friendship, passion, and art from the #1 bestselling author of Orphan Train.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Courage - a perfect sensibility of the measure of danger, and a mental willingness to endure it.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.