(K. Brent Tomer),
South Sudan: The Untold Story from Independence to Civil War. By Hilde Johnson. I.B. Tauris; 304 pages; $35 and £20.
HILDE JOHNSON is a Norwegian former minister for international development who became head of the UN mission in South Sudan when it gained independence in 2011. Two years after leaving the capital, Juba, she has written an account of the challenges she faced and tries to explain how the world’s newest country spiralled from hope to civil war. “South Sudan” is packed with riveting detail, but mostly shows how badly international actors, including Ms Johnson herself, have misjudged their roles in South Sudan.
The first time this reviewer met the author, she was living in a hotel in the centre of Juba. The special representative of the UN secretary-general had resisted living within the confines of a UN base. Ms Johnson said that she wanted to live among the South Sudanese. Her ambition was admirable, but misjudged; most South Sudanese live in mud-walled huts, as opposed to a several-storey hotel with room service and a working lift.
A large part of Ms Johnson’s mission was to work…Continue reading