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 X
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

    Genres

  • 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" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  A Short History of Ethiopia

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On
    The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On
    by Franny Choi
    Calamity can cohabit with joy, and you and I have, on some plane, accepted that absurd reality. We ...
  • Book Jacket: Bloodbath Nation
    Bloodbath Nation
    by Paul Auster
    In recent years, Booker Prize­–nominated novelist Paul Auster has increasingly turned to ...
  • Book Jacket: The Nazi Conspiracy
    The Nazi Conspiracy
    by Brad Meltzer, Josh Mensch
    The Nazi Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch was a big hit with our First Impressions readers...
  • Book Jacket
    Yonder
    by Jabari Asim
    The captivating historical novel Yonder turns an intimate lens towards the tragedy and survivorship ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Mitford Affair
by Marie Benedict
An explosive novel of history's most notorious sisters, one of whom will have to choose: her country or her family?

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Wade in the Water
    by Nyani Nkrumah

    A gripping debut novel of female power and vulnerability, race, and class set in a small Mississippi town in the early 1980s.

  • Book Jacket

    Margot
    by Wendell Steavenson

    A young woman struggles to break free of her upper-class upbringing amid the whirlwind years of the sexual revolution.

  • Book Jacket

    Moonrise Over New Jessup
    by Jamila Minnicks

    "Jamila Minnicks pulled me into pages of history I'd never turned before."—Barbara Kingsolver

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

It's A G T Me

and be entered to win..

Who Said...

A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas--a place ...

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

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.