New book illuminates Sierra Leonean war and the role of love
Date: October 02, 2012•
When Catherine Bolten first considered studying the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, many people — government officials, professors, the U.S. ambassador — warned her to stay away. It’s a dangerous and immoral place, they told her, infamous because residents refused to fight the rebels who occupied Makeni for three years (1998-2002) during the decade-long civil war.
Undeterred, Bolten spent 18 months in Makeni talking to hundreds of people. Her new book, “I Did It to Save My Life: Love and Survival in Sierra Leone,” just published by University of California Press, illuminates a very different kind of community — one in which residents struggled to survive and care for each other within a social order based on love, compassion, material exchange and nurturing.