Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ethiopian Revolution Investigation Reading List

Here's my beginning reading list on the Ethiopian Revolution. Despite my own sympathies I am trying to read a variety of perspectives. If you've stumbled across this list, I'm happy to receive additional recommendations or sources. Also, I am actively looking for original copies of Ethiopian left diaspora publications like Abyot and Forward.

  • Tim Bascom, Running to the Fire: An American Missionary Comes of Age in Revolutionary Ethiopia. Sightline Books/University of Iowa Press, paperback 2015
  • Gizachew Tiruneh, On the Run in the Blue Nile: A True Story. Self-published paperback 2014
  • Rebecca Haile, Held at a Distance: My Rediscovery of Ethiopia. Academy Chicago Publishers, 2007 paperback
  • Hiwot Teffera, Tower in the Sky. Addis Ababa University Press, 2012/2015
  • Makonnen Araya, Negotiating a Lion’s Share of Freedom: Adventures of an Idealist Caught up in the Ethiopian Civil War. Self-published paperback, 2004
  • Makonen Getu, The Undreamt: An Ethiopian Transformation, Christian Transformation Resource Center, 2004 paperback
  • Nega Mezlekia, Notes from the Hyena’s Belly. Picador paperback, 2000
  • Mohammed Yimam, Wore Negari: A Memoir of an Ethiopian Youth in the Turbulent '70s. Xlibris/Self published 2013 paperback
  • Taffara Deguefé, Minutes of an Ethiopian Century, Shama Books, paperback, 2006/2010
  • Taffara Deguefé, A Tripping Stone, Ethiopian Prison Diary, Addis Ababa University Press, paperback, 2003
  • Worku Lakew, Revolution, love and growing up: Stories from Ethiopia and the UK, New Generation Publishing paperback, 2016
  • Andargachew Tiruneh, The Ethiopian Revolution (1974 to 1984), Doctoral Dissertation, LSE 1990.
  • Babile Tole, To Kill a Generation, Free Ethiopia Press (PDF), 1989/1997
  • Bahru Zewde, editor, Documenting the Ethiopian Student Movement: An Exercise in Oral History, Forum for Social Studies, Addis Ababa 2010, paperback
  • Dawit Shifaw, The Diary of Terror, Ethiopia 1974 to 1991. Trafford, paperback 2012
  • Dawit Wolde Giorgis, Red Tears: War, Famine and Revolution in Ethiopia. Red Sea Press hardcover 1989
  • Fentahun Tiruneh, The Ethiopian Students: Their Struggle to Articulate the Ethiopian Revolution, Fentahun Tiruneh/Nyala Type, 1990
  • Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Emperor, Vintage International paperback, 1978/1983
  • Kiflu Tadesse, The Generation – The History of the EPRP. Red Sea Press paperback, 1994
  • Kiflu Tadesse, The Generation, Part 2 – Ethiopia Transformation and Conflict. University Press of America hardcover 1998
  • Valentin Korovikov, Ethiopia — Years of Revolution: Fifth Anniversary of the 1974 Revolution, Novosti Press Moscow, 1979 (English edition)
  • Solomon Ejigu Gebreselassie, The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, 1975-2008. Red Sea Press paperback, 2014
  • Oiecha Onni-Onne, The Road of No Return. Undated self published PDF, 12pp
  • Blair Thomson, Ethiopia, The Country That Cut Off Its Head: A Diary of the Revolution, Robson Books Limited paperback, 1975
  • Raúl Valdés Vivó, Ethiopia's Revolution. International Publishers paperback, 1978
  • Bahru Zewde, The Quest for Socialist Utopia: The Ethiopian Student Movement c. 1960-1974, James Currey 2014
  • Daniel Fogel, Africa in Struggle: National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution, ISM Press, 1982
  • Fred Halliday and Maxine Molyneux, The Ethiopian Revolution. Verso New Left editions 1981 paperback
  • Edward Kissi, Revolution and Genocide in Ethiopia and Cambodia. Lexington Books paperback 2006
  • Gebru Tareke, The Ethiopian Revolution: War in the Horn of Africa, Yale Library of Military History, 2009
  • René Lefort, Ethiopia: Heretical Revolution? Zed hardcover 1981/1983
  • John Markakis and Nega Ayele, Class and Revolution in Ethiopia, Red Sea Press, 1978
  • David Ottaway and Marina Ottaway, Afrocommunism, Africana paperback 1981 
  • Marina and David Ottaway, Ethiopia, Empire in Revolution, Africana/Holmes & Meier, 1978
  • Jean Louis Peninou, Eritrea: The Guerrillas of the Red Sea, EFLNA, 1975
  • Jacob Wiebel, “Let the Red Terror Intensity: Political violence, governance and society in Urban Ethiopia, 1976-78” Durham University research paper, 2015
  • Northeast African Studies, Volume 16, No. 1, 2016, The 1974 Ethiopian Revolution at 40
  • Abyot Special Issue, February 1978 “On Some Points of the Armed Struggle Waged by the People Under the Leadership of the EPRP.” EPRP Foreign Section, Europe.
  • Combat, Vol. V, No. 2, special issue “The National Question in Ethiopia: Proletarian Internationalism or Bourgeois Nationalism?” Ethiopian Students Union in North America, reprinted Oct. 1976
  • Ethiopian Student Association in North America, The Liberation of the Imperial Ethiopian Government Embassy, 1969
  • Ethiopian Student Union in North America Executive Council, Hand Book On Elementary Notes on Revolution and Organization, ESUNA, 1972
  • Senai Likke, The Ethiopian Revolution (Tasks, Achievements, Problems and Prospects, undated pamphlet ca 1976-1977
  • Wallelign Mekonnen, On the Question of Nationalities in Ethiopia, 1969 (reproduced on pdf) 
  • Women in the Ethiopian Revolution, Prepared by the Foreign Section of ISEANE (Ethiopian Women Revolutionary Movement) July 1980, distributed by UPESUNA (pro-Meison)
  • Yabiyot Mestawot, Petty Bourgeois Radicalism and Left Infantalism in Ethiopia: The Case of EPRP, in Unity and Struggle, Vol. 1 No. 2, July 1977, publication of the United Progressive Ethiopian Students Union in North America
  • Not yet catalogued: various issues of Abyot, Challenge, Combat, Forward, Zena, Vanguard (EPLF) as well as EPLF, EFLNA bulletins; Derg pamphlets
  • Dierdre Griswold, Eyewitness Ethiopia: The Continuing Revolution. World View Publishers (Workers World Party), 1978, pamphlet
  • Ernest Harsch, The Ethiopian Revolution, Pathfinder Press (SWP US), 1978, pamphlet
  • The People's Herald, Ethiopia — Revolution in the Making, Progressive Publishers, NYC 1978
  • Workers World Newspaper, The Ethiopian Revolution and the struggle against U.S. imperialism, World View Publishers (WWP), 1978, pamphlet

  • Maaza Mengiste, Beneath The Lion's Gaze, Norton 2010


English language pamphlets from Ethiopian (and Eritrean) Left sources (Abyot, Combat, Forward, Zena, Vanguard, Resistance); publications from pro Derg organizations (Senay Likke's, Yehibret Demtse, Meison). English language publications from the Derg itself. Copies of the Communist Labor Party's The People's Tribune, 1970s. Scans, pdfs, photocopies, originals.

Graphic design images, photos especially of EPRP.

(To communicate with me personally, leave a comment and include your email address. Feel free to label any private communication "Not for Publication" and I will respond privately without publishing the comment. —ISH)

UPDATED April 2, 2016 
UPDATED April 13, 2016
UPDATED May 23, 2016
UPDATED June 15, 2016
UPDATED June 22, 2016 
UPDATED July 1, 2016
UPDATED July 18, 2016
UPDATED September 12, 2016


  1. The Generation book is a bit pricy on Amazon, is there any way to buy it for reasonable price somewhere?

    Can you compare The EPRP : Between the Rock and Hard place vs. The Generation. I was planning to pick up the first but I don't know whether it's better to opt for The Generation?

  2. Yes, The Generation is shockingly expensive, and the first volume being out of print is also hard to find. I don't have a secret cheap source, sorry. Babile Tole's excellent "To Kill a Generation" is at least available for free as a PDF. Let me know if you need a link. It covers some of the same ground.

    The Generation is a different sort of work than EPRP: BARAAHP. The Generation is very light on analysis, and very very heavy on insider details. Some of Kiflu's reporting is a little self-serving, especially when it comes to the difficult period of 1977-78. Solomon's book is more of an analysis, a balance sheet. I think he's very fair in his judgments of EPRP's successes, mistakes and failures, but he is also pretty explicit in his anti-Marxism, which from my point of view I found occasionally annoying. But it's a really valuable work. Certainly at under $20 it's more accessible than The Generation books. Kiflu's books are surprisingly apolitical, in that he sort of treats the ideological battlefields of the 1970s as a dead horse. I think it's that ideological battlefield that is my own area of interest. Thanks for the comment and let me know which you go for and what you think.

  3. Here's the link to Babile Tola's work.


    1. Thank you for the link. I didn't know that it was available online, this one was in my bookmarks at WorldCat. I just placed this order on mereb.com in Ethiopia and it came a bit pricey too, about 40 CAD for a book, which is still cheaper than to buy on amazon.com


      And I plan to buy a few more books from amazon.ca, so Solomon book will not fit it in. I feel that Generation is the one I'm after with lots of personal stories, siilar to a short episode of the authors' EPRP involvement from Notes from Hyena's Belly, or his involvement with West Somali Liberation Front (WSLF). I will probably be able to put an intra-library loan and get it EPRP or Generation, so I will hold off for now and purchase 6 or so other books. It is a lot of reading anyways and will last me for the rest of a year.

  4. Thank you for including my 2 was old book in your list. It has a unique take mainly because I had responsibility for eprp work inside the dergue and because my brother in law replaced mengistu by popular choice from the dergue rank and file even if it was briefly.most of the evidence has never been published and is not widely known even in eprp circles and it is the first time that I am writing in almost 40 years.

    1. Oh hello! I am actually working on a short review of your book for my blog, which I have just finished. I quite enjoyed it but I have many questions for you. May I contact you privately? If you respond with your email address I will not approve the comment so it stays private.