100 books like Struggle for Land in Southern Somalia

By Catherine Besteman (editor), Catherine Besteman (editor), Lee V. Cassanelli (editor)

Here are 100 books that Struggle for Land in Southern Somalia fans have personally recommended if you like Struggle for Land in Southern Somalia. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Invention of Somalia

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis Author Of The Suicidal State in Somalia: The Rise and Fall of the Siad Barre Regime, 1969-1991

From my list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Somali scholar in the field of Somali Studies and African Studies, specialising in anthropology, history, and the politics of Somali society and state(s). I am recognised as an authority and expert on the historical and contemporary Somali conflicts in the Diaspora and back home. I am a Research Fellow at the Conflict Research Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where I am tasked to study the political economy of Mogadishu. I am also a visiting professor at the African Leadership Centre, King’s College London, where I deliver lectures about the genesis of the Cold War in the Horn of Africa and the Civil War in Somalia. 

Mohamed's book list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis Why did Mohamed love this book?

This groundbreaking and pioneering book was the best book ever written on Somalia. It was indeed an eye-opener for me during my early years of academia. It dramatically changed how I would think of Somali studies. I still recall vividly to this day how I became enchanted with how authors, most of whom were Somalis, had critically challenged previous anthropological and historical scholarship on Somalia, pompously written at the time by Eurocentrists. As soon as I finished reading the book, I began to follow in the footsteps of scholars like Professor Ali Jimale Ahmed.

Book cover of Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis Author Of The Suicidal State in Somalia: The Rise and Fall of the Siad Barre Regime, 1969-1991

From my list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Somali scholar in the field of Somali Studies and African Studies, specialising in anthropology, history, and the politics of Somali society and state(s). I am recognised as an authority and expert on the historical and contemporary Somali conflicts in the Diaspora and back home. I am a Research Fellow at the Conflict Research Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where I am tasked to study the political economy of Mogadishu. I am also a visiting professor at the African Leadership Centre, King’s College London, where I deliver lectures about the genesis of the Cold War in the Horn of Africa and the Civil War in Somalia. 

Mohamed's book list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis Why did Mohamed love this book?

This is one of the most compelling books written on Africa. The author insightfully and thoughtfully reassesses the predicament and plight of the African continent with regards to socio-cultural development, institution-building, nation-building, and state-building. The book – both challenging and stimulating as it is – proves to be a somewhat difficult read as the author alternately targets scholars of African studies more than students of Africa as his main audience and recipients.

By Mahmood Mamdani, Mahmood Mamdani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Citizen and Subject as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In analyzing the obstacles to democratization in post- independence Africa, Mahmood Mamdani offers a bold, insightful account of colonialism's legacy--a bifurcated power that mediated racial domination through tribally organized local authorities, reproducing racial identity in citizens and ethnic identity in subjects. Many writers have understood colonial rule as either "direct" (French) or "indirect" (British), with a third variant--apartheid--as exceptional. This benign terminology, Mamdani shows, masks the fact that these were actually variants of a despotism. While direct rule denied rights to subjects on racial grounds, indirect rule incorporated them into a "customary" mode of rule, with state-appointed Native Authorities defining…


Book cover of The Black Man’s Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis Author Of The Suicidal State in Somalia: The Rise and Fall of the Siad Barre Regime, 1969-1991

From my list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Somali scholar in the field of Somali Studies and African Studies, specialising in anthropology, history, and the politics of Somali society and state(s). I am recognised as an authority and expert on the historical and contemporary Somali conflicts in the Diaspora and back home. I am a Research Fellow at the Conflict Research Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where I am tasked to study the political economy of Mogadishu. I am also a visiting professor at the African Leadership Centre, King’s College London, where I deliver lectures about the genesis of the Cold War in the Horn of Africa and the Civil War in Somalia. 

Mohamed's book list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis Why did Mohamed love this book?

Whenever I see suddenly this remarkable book on my bookshelves, I wonder how the author, writing in later years of his life, was able of combining his practical experience in Africa with his theoretical engagement of Africa. The author narrates sympathetically how African political elites who embraced Western alien institutions and state ideals failed to reconsider the reconfiguration of the nation-state on their continent.

By Basil Davidson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Black Man’s Burden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Basil Davidson on the nation-state in Africa and its huge disappointments, its relationship to the colonial years and the parallels with events in Eastern Europe.

North America: Times/Random House


Book cover of The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis Author Of The Suicidal State in Somalia: The Rise and Fall of the Siad Barre Regime, 1969-1991

From my list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Somali scholar in the field of Somali Studies and African Studies, specialising in anthropology, history, and the politics of Somali society and state(s). I am recognised as an authority and expert on the historical and contemporary Somali conflicts in the Diaspora and back home. I am a Research Fellow at the Conflict Research Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where I am tasked to study the political economy of Mogadishu. I am also a visiting professor at the African Leadership Centre, King’s College London, where I deliver lectures about the genesis of the Cold War in the Horn of Africa and the Civil War in Somalia. 

Mohamed's book list on contemporary Africa and late colonialism

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis Why did Mohamed love this book?

This extraordinary book forces anyone who attempts at studying African politics during the post-colonial period (‘on the postcolony’ in Achile Mbembe’s term) as well as in the late Cold War to (re)consider the role of Africans in the shaping of post-colonial Africa. The author uses various examples to nuance the dilemma of the African state-building process. The notion of ‘the politics of the belly’ derived from a Cameroonian saying, not a Bayart’s creation, as many in the West would think of it.

By Jean-Francois Bayart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The State in Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The State in Africa is one of the important and compelling texts of comparative politics and historical sociology of the last twenty years. Bayart rejects the assumption of African 'otherness' based on stereotyped images of famine, corruption and civil war. Instead he invites the reader to see that African politics is like politics anywhere else in the world, not an exotic aberration. Africans themselves speak of a 'politics of the belly' - an expression that refers not only to the necessities of survival but also to a complex array of cultural representations, notably those of the 'invisible' world of sorcery.…


Book cover of Seven Days In May

Bob Reiss Author Of The Last Spy

From my list on thrillers that affected the real world.

Why am I passionate about this?

This will sound corny but if writers aren’t dreamers, who is? As a journalist, I got to cover real events, but I was also concerned about what could happen. But how do you write about something you fear will happen, but hasn’t happened yet? How to drive across future consequences when you are limited by that moment’s reality? A journalist will quote leaders, or reports, and hope that does the trick. A novelist can bring characters to life who will one day have to live with a tragedy and their own choices. My short story collection Still Hungry will be published in January 2023.

Bob's book list on thrillers that affected the real world

Bob Reiss Why did Bob love this book?

Like most readers, I’m scared these days about the future of our democracy. As a reporter I’ve covered trouble spots; like Somalia – where no law existed - and Sudan, where I was in a crowd fleeing at the mere sight of an airplane, fearing bombs. One of my friends lost his wife in a Washington car bombing. Others escaped danger during a Chilean coup. Seven Days in May imagined an attempted coup in the US, and although the setting was decades ago, some forces at play are the same, since human motivation never changes. This book sobered up the nation back then by reminding readers what happens when some of us....any of us...think they know better than everyone else and believe force is the way to go. We could use that reminder now.

By Fletcher Knebel, Charles W. Bailey II,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Days In May as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vintage hardcover


Book cover of A House in the Sky

Susan Pohlman Author Of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home

From my list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the transformational power of travel ever since my husband and I unexpectedly signed a lease to an apartment on the Italian Riviera instead of divorce papers. The power of that year abroad saved our marriage, united our family of four in a sacred way, and introduced us to the many cultures of Europe. I learned the crucial difference between taking a trip and embarking on a journey. Capturing a travel experience on the page for those who can’t journey to a destination themselves is a joy and a privilege I don’t take lightly. Publishing this memoir allowed me to pivot in my career to a full-time writer and writing coach/editor.

Susan's book list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel

Susan Pohlman Why did Susan love this book?

There have been only a handful of books that I have been unable to put down.

This memoir is one of them. In 2008, Amanda Lindhout began her career as a reporter by traveling to Somalia. On her fourth day, she and another journalist were abducted and held for ransom.

She recounts her harrowing experience in captivity (460 days) in vivid, and heart-wrenching detail. When she is most desperate, she travels in her mind to A House in the Sky enabling her to block out her dire circumstances and let in a ray of hope.

This is a true story you will never forget.

By Amanda Lindhout, Sara Corbett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A House in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BREAKING NEWS: Amanda Lindhout’s lead kidnapper, Ali Omar Ader, has been caught.

Amanda Lindhout wrote about her fifteen month abduction in Somalia in A House in the Sky. It is the New York Times bestselling memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world’s most remote places and then into captivity: “Exquisitely told…A young woman’s harrowing coming-of-age story and an extraordinary narrative of forgiveness and spiritual triumph” (The New York Times Book Review).

As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself visiting its exotic locales. At the…


Book cover of When Stars Are Scattered

Alison Prowle Author Of Strength-based Practice with Children and Families

From my list on finding hope following childhood adversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in the South Wales Valleys during the 1970s and 80s, I witnessed firsthand the effects of multiple adversities on the lives of those around me. Life was difficult for many families in the area as they battled with poverty, ill health, and lack of opportunity. I watched many amazing, creative, and talented young people fail to realise their potential. This sparked a passion and a career for supportive intervention with families and young children. It is my aim to help equip the workforce to better understand and respond to childhood adversity, be trauma aware, advocate for children’s rights, and make a positive difference in the lives of children and young people.

Alison's book list on finding hope following childhood adversity

Alison Prowle Why did Alison love this book?

It is difficult to imagine a more adverse childhood experience than growing up in a refugee camp.

In 2016 and 2017, I was privileged to spend some time working with children and families in a refugee camp in North France. The living conditions were very difficult, with regular food shortages, ill health, uncertainty, and ever-present danger. However,  I was continually amazed by the resilience, creativity, generosity, and humour shown by the children, even in the face of such difficulties.

When Stars Are Scattered is a beautiful children’s book that tells the true story of Omar and his brother Hassan as they grow up in a Kenyan refugee camp. Filled with beautiful illustrations and thoughtful insights into daily life in the camp, this book exemplifies hope in the face of adversity. 

By Omar Mohamed, Victoria Jamieson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked When Stars Are Scattered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A National Book Award Finalist, this remarkable graphic novel is about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would…


Book cover of Desert Flower

Martin Fletcher Author Of Promised Land: A Novel of Israel

From my list on the refugee experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my work as a news reporter and war correspondent, I met people on the worst day of their lives. I always wondered: What now? How will they get on with life? My own parents faced that dreadful dilemma. Penniless refugees, their families murdered in the Holocaust, unemployed in London, how on earth did they find the strength to carry on? One day at a time, they just did what they had to do. That is the subject of my fiction, always trying to answer that existential question: How do we live with trauma, and still find love and happiness?

Martin's book list on the refugee experience

Martin Fletcher Why did Martin love this book?

It isn’t the best-written book but Waris Dirie’s account of her escape from Somalia, her life as a domestic servant in London, her marriages of convenience, and her ultimate triumph in New York’s world of fashion, haunted me for years.

A frank, intimate account of a beautiful woman’s escape from a nomadic tribal life of female abuse to scaling the heights of western fashion modeling.

By Waris Dirie, Cathleen Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Desert Flower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Waris Dirie (the name means desert flower) lives a double life - by day she is a famous model and UN spokeswoman on women's rights in Africa, at night she dreams of her native Somalia. Waris, one of 12 children, was born into a traditional family of desert nomads in East Africa. She remembers her early childhood as carefree- racing camels and moving on with her family to the next grazing spot - until it came her turn to meet the old woman who administered the ancient custom imposed on most Somalian girls: circumcision. Waris suffered this torture when she…


Book cover of Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman: 90,000 Lives Changed

MaryAnn Shank Author Of The Mystical Land of Myrrh

From my list on strong Somali women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia in the late 1960’s I witnessed the upheaval in the society due to the massive changes in government demanded by the Western world. There were so many brave people emerging from this chaos, especially women. There was even a young Somali woman who saved my life. That such strength grows in such circumstances still amazes me. I am honored to bring a few of them to you, and to share a small part of my personal experience in Somalia.

MaryAnn's book list on strong Somali women

MaryAnn Shank Why did MaryAnn love this book?

Hope is sometimes a rare commodity in a land torn by war, famine, and drought for decades.

Blessed help is often even rarer. Dr. Hawa Abdi is that rare person who pours hope into such a desolate environment and saves lives. Dr. Hawa Abdi created a hospital out of nothing, treating all who came to her doorstep, no questions asked. It sits in northern Somalia, with trained nurses and medical supplies brought in from donations.

Dr. Hawa Abdi is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee for her unrelenting work to help Somalia, her home, bringing hope to many hundreds of her people. Indeed an inspirational story of compassion, and making dreams come true.

By Hawa Abdi, Sarah J Robbins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Keeping Hope Alive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the last twenty years, Dr Hawa Abdi and her daughters have run a refugee camp on their family farm not far from Mogadishu which has grown to shelter 90,000 displaced Somalis: men, women, and children in urgent need of medical attention. As Islamist militia groups have been battling for control of the country creating one of the most dire human rights crises in the world, Dr. Abdi's camp is a beacon of hope for the Somalis, most of whom have no proper access to health care. She was recently held hostage by a militant groups who threatened her life…


Book cover of The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

MaryAnn Shank Author Of The Mystical Land of Myrrh

From my list on strong Somali women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia in the late 1960’s I witnessed the upheaval in the society due to the massive changes in government demanded by the Western world. There were so many brave people emerging from this chaos, especially women. There was even a young Somali woman who saved my life. That such strength grows in such circumstances still amazes me. I am honored to bring a few of them to you, and to share a small part of my personal experience in Somalia.

MaryAnn's book list on strong Somali women

MaryAnn Shank Why did MaryAnn love this book?

Shugri is the last nomad in her family. There are no more.

She fled the wars, the famines, the torture that had become Somalia and, through a treacherous journey became a refugee in hostile places, landing finally in California. Along with her constant confusion with escalators and washing machines, she overcame her fears of torture, and her suspicions, to become a nurse, a wife and a mother, a valuable citizen of her community.

I have met Shugri, and she is now one of the kindest, gentlest people I know. She has a lot to teach all of us about strength of character, and loving.

By Shugri Said Salh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Nomad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A remarkable and inspiring true story that "stuns with raw beauty" about one woman's resilience, her courageous journey to America, and her family's lost way of life.

Finalist for the 2022 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nonfiction Award
Winner of the 2022 Gold Nautilus Award, Multicultural & Indigenous Category

Born in Somalia, a spare daughter in a large family, Shugri Said Salh was sent at age six to live with her nomadic grandmother in the desert. The last of her family to learn this once-common way of life, Salh found herself chasing warthogs, climbing termite hills, herding goats, and moving constantly…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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