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About the Book. A fascinating narrative excursion into a bizarre episode in 19th century Ethiopian and British imperial history, featuring a remote African despot.
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He named it Sevastopol, after the victorious Russian battery.

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Plowden, meanwhile, was speared to death as he tried to leave Ethiopia, and another British consul, Charles Cameron, was kept in chains. To rescue Cameron, the Foreign Office dispatched the smallest possible diplomatic mission: They waited 18 months for an audience.

Initially infatuated with Rassam, Tewodros banished him with Cameron to a prison hut on the cramped summit of Meqdela, or Magdala, the Ethiopian equivalent of Mount Ararat. Waldmeier realised that Tewodros "would rather cut all the Europeans into a thousand pieces than hand them over.

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Marsden first visited Ethiopia in the s; his understanding of the country is manifest on every page. His narrative - recast from first-hand accounts and Amharic sources - is beautifully paced, and his story is incredible: Only two English soldiers died as against Ethiopians, including Tewodros, who shot himself rather than be taken. His parting words were to Waldmeier, his gun-maker: Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles. A collection of the best contributions and reports from the Telegraph focussing on the key events, decisions and moments in Churchill's life.

This book tells the story of the men and women of Fighter Command who worked tirelessly in air bases scattered throughout Britain to thwart the Nazis.

The Barefoot Emperor: An Ethiopian Tragedy by Philip Marsden | The Sunday Times

I know it DID go on and on, but in the telling it just seems like random-act-of-violence followed by random-threat followed by random-act-of-violence for pages; I lost track of who was who, how many letters had been sent, lost, gone unanswered, which of his generals had been executed, etc. I am sure the author was somewhat aware of this problem in the text--every time Tirunesh, the emperor's estranged wife, was mentioned, she was ALWAYS called "Tirunesh, the emperor's estranged wife," presumably in case you'd forgotten who she was. I know this trick. Things picked up again at the end when the British army under Napier finally arrived and drove Tewodros to suicide.


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It's a good book and a wonderful, obscure bit of British history; just a bit draggy in the middle. Nov 08, Pete rated it really liked it Shelves: I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it in earnest. Despite a relatively busy schedule, the pages went by in just a few days.

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As a result, I've become of fan of Philip's writings and look forward to reading some of his other works soon. It is also a tragedy, as it's title states, as it describes the much trouble and violent lif I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it in earnest. It is also a tragedy, as it's title states, as it describes the much trouble and violent life of one of Ethiopia most cerebrated emperors.

The Barefoot Emperor: An Ethiopian Tragedy by Philip Marsden

Unfortunately just about all the documentation of Tewodros II life is from an outsider's perspective. Though their accounts of his life seem accurate and neutral, a life such as his is almost impossible to paint correctly without an account of Tewodros life from an "insiders" point of view.

Mar 27, Jaime rated it really liked it. I couldn't put this book down. Although the author, Philip Marsden, seemed to vacillate between tearing down Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia as some kind of 'Saddam Hussien' or a true tragedy of the only independent country, besides Liberia, that was left in the 19th century in Africa.

An Ethiopian tragedy

Aug 21, Hama rated it liked it. An interesting read on the controversial Emperor. Jul 17, Mark Thuell rated it it was amazing. Christopher rated it liked it Nov 18, Sophie rated it liked it Jun 29, Noah rated it really liked it Mar 26, Andrew Wakelin rated it really liked it Feb 08, Ronald rated it really liked it Apr 09, Dararo Kenbata rated it really liked it Jun 24, Mbekele rated it liked it Sep 18, Kassahun Wagaw rated it really liked it Jul 13, Mehariw Melaku rated it liked it Apr 14, Janie rated it it was amazing Apr 10, Ruth rated it it was ok Aug 30, Philip rated it really liked it May 15, John rated it really liked it Jul 25, Aug 28, John Ross rated it really liked it.


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  5. A very poignant account of a man driven by an ambition that bordered on hubris only to find himself trapped in a maze of ultra-conservative Ethiopian traditionalism, the allure of the modern world and the reprisals of an outraged Britain. Marsden writes vividly and beautifully, with great insight and deep compassion.

    Vizara rated it really liked it Oct 26, William Truscott rated it it was amazing Aug 08, Chris rated it liked it Feb 18, Fascinating true story of Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia and his relations with Europeans who came to live in his court, ultimately culminating in a British military expedition to rescue them.


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    An excellent read about one of only two independent countries in Africa, the other being Liberia, during Colonialism. He lives in Cornwall. This is a replica of 'Sevastopol',