In this first hand account of a woman's journey back to her homeland, Rebecca Haile's "Held at a Distance: My Rediscovery of Ethiopia" gives readers a powerful and unique glimpse into a fascinating African country.
Haile was born in Ethiopia in 1965 and lived there until she was 11 years old. When the Emperor was deposed by a military coup, Haile's father, a leading academic in Addis Ababa, was shot while "resisting arrest." Barely surviving, he escaped with his family and settled in central Minnesota where they struggled with the cultural and financial strain of their drastically changed circumstances.
Haile grew up in America harboring her precious childhood memories, but in time saw herself as more American than Ethiopian. She attended Williams College and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School. In 2001, she was the first member of her family to return to Ethiopia. Her trip profiles key family members who are still living in the country, and she writes movingly about Ethiopia's recent past and its ancient history.
Few books have dealt with the millions of Ethiopians affected by war and strife in their country. Haile's book brings into focus the challenges and consequences of three decades of political upheaval in Ethiopia. She offers a clear-eyed analysis of the country today, and her keen observations and personal experiences will resonate with readers.