kilroy wrote:anybody got any recommendations on some good reads regarding Somalia? particularly stuff that gives a decent insight into the living conditions of the average everyday Somali Joe?
any other suggestions that have anything to do with Somalia in general that is a good read is also welcome - history, political, industry, economics, etc.
pirate shit abounds these days and isn't what I'm that interested in, so unless it's really really fucking good please leave that shit out.
So, I went through a similar desire to find books on Somalia that weren't trendy (IE about pirates) and could give a broader insight into the country. You will find that many books you run across are about how Somalia interacts with its neighbors and the world.... because that really is how the place defines itself. I've got a few books for you to look into. Myself, my marital unit, and friends have all recommended them.
Check it out:
You asked about living conditions, this comes from my wife's friend:Born in the Big Rains: A Memoir of Somalia and Survival (Women Writing Africa)
Viewpoint of a woman who goes from desperate poverty to stunning luxury in Somalia. http://www.amazon.com/Born-Big-Rains-Somalia-Survival/dp/1558615318/ref=sr_1_19?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347711354&sr=1-19
The cool thing is it is written by
someone from there, not about
someone from there..... but given Somalia's stunning school system you'll find a lack of other books in the same vein! Most are written by westerners.Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea
Written by Robert D Kaplan, an international journalist. Decent insight into how this region got so fucked up in the first place.http://www.amazon.com/Surrender-Starve-Travels-Ethiopia-Somalia/dp/1400034523/ref=sr_1_22?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347711973&sr=1-22Somalia: Economy without State (African Issues)
A good analysis of Somali economics in the 80's and 90's. Dry as a bone, but lets you understand the way Somalis did things and how that has transformed them into who they are. I liked it because it offers a tempting look at a question that so many of us Americans think about: Do you need a "state" to have an economy?http://www.amazon.com/Somalia-Economy-without-African-Issues/dp/0253216486/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347712785&sr=1-1&keywords=somalia%3Aeconomy+without+state
From the reviews comes a very good point by a learned reader: "The only draw back is that the book is almost entirely focused on the nomadic population in Southern Somalia, and offers little perspective on the merchant populations and no perspective on the Sab agricultural groups" but you should check it out none the less.
I couldn't find anything from Mogadishu's inhabitants.
I'm sure you read Blackhawk down, even though it is far more about Americans than about Somalis, but it is a fair and honest look at the place through a very small lens.