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I Did it To Save My LifeBolten Illuminates Wartime Survival Strategies in Sierra Leone

Catherine BoltenIn I Did it To Save My Life (University of California Press, 2012), Faculty Fellow Catherine Bolten utilizes seven narratives—of soldier, rebel, student, trader, evangelist, father, and politician—to provide fresh insight into how ordinary Sierra Leoneans survived their country’s decade-long civil war.

The residents of the town of Makeni situate their wartime lives in a compassionate and nurturing social world based on love, creating for themselves a powerful basis on which to reaffirm their choices and orient themselves to post-war life.

In doing so, they reject government charges that they were rebel collaborators, arguing that it was the government’s disloyalty to its people that destroyed the town’s social fabric and forced uneasy co-existence between civilians and militants.

 

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