Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Getting Somalia Wrong?: Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State” as Want to Read:
Getting Somalia Wrong?: Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Getting Somalia Wrong?: Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  101 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Somalia is a comprehensively failed state, representing a threat to itself, its neighbors, and the wider world. In recent years, it has become notorious for the piracy off its coast and the rise of Islamic extremism, opening it up as a new "southern front" in the war on terror. At least that is how it is inevitably presented by politicians and in the media. In Getting Soma ...more
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published February 9th 2012 by Zed Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Caitriona H
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book blew the pirates out of the water at its SOAS launch in the spring. Packing a lecture room full of political figures, journalists and campaigners, BBC journalist and author Mary Harper held her own with aplomb as the subject matter heated argument.

Currently the most famous story about Somalia is the pirates, and Mary Harper’s adventure with the pirates is very well known. After trying to contact them for the BBC for some time, she let her daughter call them one day (‘they are under P f
Tiberius Minor
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this on one long plane ride, because I was embarrassed as a Kenyan never to have read a book about Somalia. It answered a lot of questions, opened my eyes to a land that I have never visited but now would like to, and got me excited about finally getting to Nurrudin Farah, who I have started to read in the past but never finished. The motivation for my reading was a recent atrocity by Al-Shabab, and I agree with the reader who says that any journalist writing about Somalia should be requi ...more
Aurélien Thomas
Somalia. A country that conjures up images of drought, famine, war, piracy, Islamism and overall chaotic violence and complete failure as a nation-state. Yet, is that only so?

The journalist Mary Harper here recounts the recent history of the country (its colonial heritage, but mostly since the overthrown of Siad Barre) and, given the traditions and culture of the Somali shows why foreign interventions so far all have been complete failures, if not counter-productive (e.g. fishermen turning pirat
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
A seemingly more honest account of Somalia than the last journalist's book I read. Harper focuses much more on the history and conflicts within Somalia with the pirates being almost peripheral. She also doesn't get ideologically sidetracked by succumbing to the need for international intervention. Unlike the last book (Pirate State), she proposes self-determination with a much more open stance by the international community to work with what's in place rather than vilify and scorn Somalia as dis ...more
David Smith
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't hand out five stars to a book very often, especially after Denis Beckett took me to task over a couple of reviews (we still need to talk about that Denis)but Mary Harper's new book on Somalia deserves all of them. I'll write more on this later.
Joseph Robinson
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the book, I would like to hear more from the US embassy perspective.
Jack Kruse
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa
Bottom Line: A GREAT READ!
Snapshot Takeaway:
Before a journalist writes a Somalia story for a paper—they should be required to first read this book.

Harper take issue with the notion of the ‘failed state’ label which is important because as she points out, when was Somalia ever a working state.

Importance of not simply equating idea of Somalia with Mogadishu—the two aren’t interchangeable.

2007 intervention overthrow first source of stability in almost 20 years.

“Trouble in Somalia can
Just a super solid, accessible, and interesting 'Somalia 101'. Harper covers a lot of ground in a quick and easy overview, dabbling in poetry and culture; diversity and evolution of Islamic practices; pirates and their supposed raison d'etre to defend Somali waters from overfishing, their easy success in ransoming ships, and the overlooked suffering of kidnapped working class crews; and all the wars, including the War on Terror. Her objective, well-met, was to explore contemporary politics and r ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great overview which was not biased or prejudiced about various political players. Unemotional, easy to read to get a picture of the situation in Somalia. No exaggerations, over-emphasis of opinion or siding with in this book. Much easier to get a general picture rather than weeding through horror stories. Favorable point of view of Somalian people. Good opener for more reading on the subject.
John Wolfe
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Said G. tells me that 2013 is a big year in Somalia ... new government in Mogadishu ... al-Shabaab being pushed back, pushed out of the villages ... so fascinatingly, this book is already one year dated (things didn't stand still) ... all the same, this is an amazingly clear and concise account of what you'd need to know about Somalia to start talking about it ...
Mohamed Guleid
What about Somaliland. The northern part of Somalia which united Somalia in 1960 and regained its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991. Somaliland has been enjoying relative peace and stability over two decades. It's home of democracy and stability but not internationally recognized.
rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2018
rated it really liked it
Dec 04, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Mar 13, 2015
Simon Wood
rated it liked it
Feb 21, 2018
Sam Wyatt
rated it really liked it
Aug 24, 2016
Jethro Norman
rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2015
rated it really liked it
Feb 25, 2013
Alexander Giles
rated it really liked it
Sep 01, 2015
rated it really liked it
Dec 24, 2014
Mohamed Mohamed
rated it it was amazing
Mar 16, 2018
Джей Мэлоун
rated it really liked it
Oct 09, 2014
rated it liked it
Aug 25, 2013
rated it really liked it
Apr 24, 2018
rated it really liked it
Aug 12, 2012
Anne Elisabeth Kobaek
rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jul 06, 2018
Liam Adair
rated it really liked it
Sep 22, 2014
rated it liked it
Jan 07, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution
  • From a Crooked Rib
  • Safe For Democracy: The Secret Wars Of The CIA
  • To Be a European Muslim
  • Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World
  • Mirror Earth: The Search for Our Planet's Twin
  • The Logic of Violence in Civil War
  • Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq
  • ما بعد الدول القومية المسلمة
  • America's Great Game: The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East
  • 'Buckingham Palace', District Six
  • Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity
  • An Image of Africa
  • The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda
  • Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?
  • The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century
  • The Key to My Neighbor's House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rwanda
  • The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters

Nonfiction Deals

  • Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
    $9.99 $2.99
  • How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Pocket Prayers: 40 Simple Prayers that Bring Peace and Rest
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Manifest Your Destiny: Nine Spiritual Principles for Getting Ev
    $11.74 $1.99
  • A Three Dog Life
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
    $14.99 $2.99
  • How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front
    $5.99 $1.99
  • My Glory Was I Had Such Friends: A Memoir
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life
    $6.99 $0.99
  • The War of Art
    $9.99 $1.49
  • Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marriage
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas
    $19.99 $2.99
  • The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
    $14.99 $2.99
  • I'd Rather Be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Girl With No Name: The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific
    $10.99 $1.99
  • America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Dear Bob and Sue
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Hello Mornings: How to Build a Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service
    $10.24 $1.99
  • Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life's Riches
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Moab Is My Washpot
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Essays in Science
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Being
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sea Around Us
    $17.99 $1.99
  • This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century
    $11.99 $3.99
  • The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom
    $14.99 $2.99