"This is a brave, carefully researched, and at times beautifully written book about Eritrean nationalism."—Catherine Besteman, author of Unraveling Somalia: Race, Class, and the Legacy of SlaverySoldiers, Martyrs, Traitors, and Exiles is an exploration of the Eritrean struggle for independence from Ethiopia, waged from 1961 to 1991, and the postindependence nation-building project. The book focuses on the way the Eritrean revolution drew refugees and exiles in the urban United States and nationalist guerrilla fighters in the Horn of Africa together in a common, yet contested, political agenda.
"Redeker Hepner's work clearly makes a significant contribution to the documentation and understanding of the dynamics of Eritrean nationalism and politics over the past four decades. She presents important firsthand narratives from diverse participants and leaders who shaped and were shaped by Eritrean struggles."—Victoria Bernal, University of California, Irvine
"Outstanding in both substance and style. Hepner's book is at the cutting-edge of qualitative research methods in African studies and the social sciences. It is a must read."—Journal of Modern African Studies
Through a combination of ethnography and creative exposition, anthropologist Tricia Redeker Hepner recounts the experiences of Eritreans in their homeland and in the United States, illuminating the lives of men and women who participated in the independence movement. Highlighting both the personal and institutional dimensions of political transformation and struggle, the book provides insight into how the transnational nature of the Eritrean revolution shaped diaspora communities and the nation-state, enhancing authoritarian rule while also inspiring resistance movements for democratization and human rights.
Soldiers, Martyrs, Traitors and Exiles provides a moving and trenchant critique of political intolerance and violence, as well as an inspiring portrait of the strength and resilience of a people whose lives have been profoundly shaped by war, forced migration, and the promises and failures of nationalism in the global era.
Tricia Redeker Hepner teaches anthropology at the University of Tennessee.