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The Ethiopian-Eritrean Wars, Volume 2

The Ethiopian-Eritrean Wars, Volume 2 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review November 2018 Title The Ethiopian-Eritrean Wars, Volume 2
Author Tom Cooper, Adrien Fontanellaz Publisher Helion
Published 2018 ISBN 9781912390304
Format 64 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $29.95


Adrien Fontanellaz and Tom Cooper continue their intensely illuminating, immensely informative study of Ethiopian-Eritrean Wars with volume 2 – "Eritrean War of Independence, 1988-1991 & Badme War, 1998-2001" – Helion's 30th terrific "Africa@War" title.

Available in North America from Casemate, the sequel starts with addenda to volume 1 – and background notes on Eritrean history, insurgent movements, and Ethiopian responses.

Three subsequent sections spotlight Ethiopia's disastrous Tigray offenses, coup and mutiny attempts, waning Soviet bloc support, and insurgent successes.

By 1990, successive battlefield failures and decimated ground formations made Ethiopia's air force its only service "active in Eritrea". Barbarically targeting noncombatants, Addis Ababa's airmen deliberately bombed civilian population and food-distribution centers.

Military defeats and internal dissension paved paths to the Derg's downfall a year later. The significance authors assign to the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front "factor" might prove surprising.

Collapse of the Communist régime brought Independence to Eritrea – and the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front to power in Addis Ababa. Reorganization and reconstruction in both countries followed – but not lasting peace.

Eritrea's May 1998 incursion into Ethiopia's northernmost province reignited conflict. And authors duly recap the so-called "Badme War" in commendable detail – including the region's first combat use of Su-27s and MiG-29s.

Admirably annotated, the picture-packed study sports dozens of rare photos. And 24 color profiles – 18 aircraft by co-author Cooper and six armor by David Bocquelet – survey the sweep of conflict colors.

A helpful glossary also lists key acronyms. A selected bibliography cites sources. And twelve tables and six maps augment the account.

But why no top views of aircraft insignia placement and camouflage patterns? And why no larger scale maps to put tactical graphics into strategic geographic perspective? Small, less detailed inset illustrations would have worked in both cases. A provincial map of Ethiopia would have certainly clarified commentary, as well.

None of these nitpicks, however, diminishes the value of Helion's superb, two-volume study. For a solid survey of Ethiopian-Eritrean fighting – technically, through 21 December 2005 – get both.

Roundly recommended!

With thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy!