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Books on Ethiopia

In Ethiopia by Bernd Bierbaum



Book Description
Publication Date: August 8, 2011

A dust-fille
d journey of 3000km, taken twenty times, yields ten chapters of vivid encounters and tangible impressions. Set between sky-high mountains on the top of Africa, blistering hot deserts of the Danakil Depression and the fertile Blue Nile valley, this is the cradle of humankind, or, according to the Ethiopian Church, the home of Adam and Eve before their fall from grace. Bernd Bierbaum, avid traveller, writer and anthropologist was so captivated by Ethiopia that he returned twice each year for the past decade. Painting an intriguing web of myth and everyday life, In Ethiopia challenges common assumptions, allowing an ancient yet universal and relevant wisdom to reveal itself. A classic of modern travel writing. "I asked myself time and again, how a Faranji (foreigner) could understand so much about my country." (Azeb Tadesse-Hahn, Deutsche Welle) "Bernd Bierbaum travels with open eyes, without any form of arrogance or wise-cracking." (Andreas Obst, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) "Refreshing, poetic, and written with deep knowledge." (Arte TV Paris)


The Train to Djibouti by Lara Bordin Kassa


’ … if you will receive my sayings and treasure up

My own commandments with yourself, if you

call out for understanding and for discernment,

if you keep seeking for it as if for silver, and as

for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that

case you will understand the very knowledge of

God. For God himself gives wisdom.’’


[ Proverbs 2: 1-5]


What I am about to tell, they are not simply memories, thoughts drawn from the journal of a trip; it is not only the story of one adventure or the recollection of precious moments. It is rather my attempt to revisit the weft of a thick mosaic of emotions, never, before then, experienced; a wood inlaid with indelible, incorruptible images, a drape embroidered with the faces of an entire people; a painting of thousands of colours; a story of a world of dreams, sometimes not appreciated by those who want to achieve other dreams. A story of dreams not understood by those to whom that world does not belong. A story of lives hanging from a thread and that of landscapes hanging in the void.


The story of ancient hidden treasures; the story of a man vanished into nothing and that of others who came out of it. The story of an invisible train and that of a river that disappears into the sands.


About the Author:

Lara Bordin Kassa was born in Turin, Italy in 1976. She studied law and then moved to London where she lives with her husband since 1999.


Web site:



A Historical Guide to Addis Ababa

by Milena Batistoni and Gian Paolo Chiari, Arada Books 2004,  


                                                             The book is released at the time when Addis

                                                             Ababa experiences a process of urban

                                                             change that profoundly affects its

                                                             appearance and character. Welcomed in

                                                             Ethiopia as  a most interesting book on the

                                                             town. [...] It is to be hoped that the Tourism

                                                             Commission and tourist companies study

                                                             this book (Dr. Richard Pankhurst, Addis

                                                             Tribune), Old Tracks in the New Flower

                                                             represents one of the first and most

                                                             comprehensive contribution to discovering

                                                             and understanding the fascination of the old

                                                             Addis Ababa. By doing so, it provides further

                                                             and detailed evidence of how dramatic

                                                             would be the cultural costs of losing such a

                                                             historical heritage.


The Book 

Hidden inside Addis Ababa's current fabric, Menelik's town still exists. Addis Ababa represents a remarkable exception among the African capitals. The short Italian occupation has only partially altered the peculiar evolution of its urban structures and this allows reading the city's astonishing history and exceptional architecture through its old buildings and the paths linking them. The fascination of the old Addis Ababa is the product of architectural syncretism that involved Ethiopian, but also Indian, Armenian and European constructors. These beautiful buildings still survive, largely unknown, scattered in different districts and far away from each other, often hidden by enclosing walls, by other houses or big trees. The authors Milena Batistoni and Gian Paolo Chiari - identified and described 134 of these buildings, in addition to those existing inside the old Imperial compound. Through their history the book highlights the identity and the atmosphere of the old Addis Ababa, also with the help of an extremely rich photographic documentation of the buildings and by seven itineraries that make their identification easy and pleasant. With this book, the authors intend to provide a historical guide to Addis Ababa. They also hope to contribute to the preservation of such an important historic and artistic heritage.  

Arada Books Publishing

Arada Books is a small and independent publishing house, established in Addis Ababa in 2004. It was created - and is managed - by people inspired and fascinated by the culture of Ethiopia, the country where they live and work. Arada Books intends to contribute to the development of the Ethiopian historical and cultural heritage through the enhancement and distribution of intellectual property. It also wants to facilitate the access to such a culture and to improve the latters communication with the rest of the world. For these reasons, Arada Books has chosen English as working language, although it intends to release bilingual editions (Amharic and English) in order to make the books accessible to a larger part of the Ethiopian population. Arada Books specializes in the publication and distribution of books on Ethiopian culture.  

For More Information 

                     Arada Books Publishing Plc

P.O. Box 28668 code 1000  

Addis Ababa - Ethiopia


Web site:


Guide to Ethiopia
by Philip Briggs 

This is a very useful travel guide. Some of the information is outdated (several new regional airports have been constructed and roads paved since this edition was published) but presumably the forthcoming edition will bring the descriptive material up to speed. What really makes this guide, though, (and why I think it is superior to the Lonely Planet guide) is the background material on Ethiopian history and culture. Since it is for historical and cultural reasons (as opposed to say viewing wildlife) that many travellers will visit Ethiopia, this part of the book is a real strength, as is the chapter on  intercultural interaction. click here to purchase book or to view details


The Kebra Negast
by Gerald Hausman

What did Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley and Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia have in common? A love for the Kebra Negast, holy book of Ethiopian Christians and Jamaican Rastafarians. Contemporary scholars date the Kebra Negast to the 14th century, but it retells the stories of much earlier Biblical times, one very important story in particular. According to the Kebra Negast, the Israelites' Ark of the Covenant was spirited away to the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia by wise King Solomon's own son, offspring of the union between Solomon and the exotic Queen Makeda of Ethiopia (a.k.a. the Queen of Sheba). Gerald Hausman, a consummate storyteller of native traditions, presents the core narrative of the Kebra Negast, from Adam to the rise of the Ethiopian Solomonid dynasty. On top of this, he injects his own encounters with Rastafarians during his travels in Jamaica--dreadlocked Rastas as modern-day Samsons, their unwavering faith in Jah, and a rare outsider's glimpse at the Nyabinghi ceremony. The combination of ancient tale and modern belief give Hausman's Kebra Negast the rich flavor of enduring truth. click here to purchase book or to view details

My Life and Ethiopia's Progress

 The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I
by Haile, I Sellassie

By any standard of judgement the 58-year reign of Ras Tafari as regent (1916-1930) and as Emperor Haile Sellassie (1930-1974), in addition to being one of the longest, was also one of the most momentous in the 3000-year history of Ethiopia...

The first Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie is detailed with information on the little giant of a man who many peoples from all of life consider to be the returned Christ, the Messiah, or Defender of the Faith. Indeed, a remarkable and outstanding world leader. Got to read it. First time ever in paperback. click here to purchase book or to view details

by Graham Hancock

English journalist Hancock retells the circumstances and thoughts that led to his discovery that the Lost Ark of the Covenant really exists. (Note that the subtitle is not How Indy and I Raided the Lost Ark.) Hancock was in Ethiopia in 1983, having been hired by the Ethiopian government to write and produce a coffee-table book extolling that country. He was greatly surprised when told that Ethiopia's Falasha Jews did not exist, and that many people could land in jail, or worse, if he went around photographing such nonexistents. Even so, off he went to Axum, deep in the desert, to see the temples and statuary of the Black Jews of Ethiopia. What he found was a sect that claimed to have the original Ark of the Covenant. Refused entrance to the sanctuary of the jealously guarded Ark, Hancock went home--and saw Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark, which inspired him to investigate the history of the Ark. Built at the foot of Mount Sinai, Hancock tells us, it ``was deposited [around 955 B.C.] by Solomon in the Holy of Holies of the First Temple.'' Later, Hancock says, it was stolen by Solomon's outcast son and carried south to Ethiopia and kept there for 800 years by a Judaic cult. Then it apparently was seized by the Knights Templar, who thought that it was the Holy Grail. The Knights converted the Jews, who kept the Ark in a great church. And to protect the Ark, all of the churches in the cult have their own replicas of the Ark: The original is never seen, even on the holiest days of the year. In 1991, during the Gulf War, Hancock returned to Axum to see the Ark--and was refused. Not as much fun as might be hoped as Hancock digs through literary and bibical texts while convincing himself that the Ark exists. (Sixteen pp. of b&w photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. click here to purchase book or to view details

Ethiopia, 3rd: The Bradt Travel Guide by Philip Briggs

Ethiopia, 3rd: The Bradt Travel Guide In this comprehensively updated third edition of Ethiopia: The Bradt Travel Guide containing over 150 pages of new material, Philip Briggs invites you to share his sense of wonder at a country he describes as "the most welcoming, enjoyable and uplifting I have ever visited." He introduces a majestic landscape, a diverse natural history, the richest historical heritage in sub-Saharan Africa, and an exuberant and welcoming people who are "quite gloriously bonkers." Inside you'll find: where to find some of East Africa's rarest wildlife; national parks and wildlife sanctuaries; historic sites, including the rock-hewn church of Lalibela - the unofficial eighth wonder of the world - and the ancient palaces and stelae of Axum; 65 new or revised maps and town plans; places to eat and to stay. (5 1/4 x 8 1/2, 544 pages, color photos, maps, illustrations) click here to purchase book or to view details

Ethiopia, 4th: The Bradt Travel Guide by Philip Briggs


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Lonely Planet Ethiopia Eritrea and Djibouti
by Pertti Hamalainen

Ethiopia's millennia-old monuments, Djibouti's stunning diving, Eritrea's architecture - the Horn of Africa has plenty to offer the traveller. Use this guide to discover the continent's best-kept secret.

  • - over 50 maps, providing comprehensive coverage of the region
  • - valuable information on safety and health
  • - where to stay, what to eat and when to go
  • - special sections on Ethiopia's diverse birdlife, Red Sea diving, Eritrea's    architecture and Djibouti's geology
  • - comprehensive language section covering Amharic, French, Tigrinyan and Arabic click here to purchase book or to view details

Lonely Planet Ethiopian Amharic Phrasebook
by Tilahun Kebede, Catherine Snow

Voices woven through staccato rhythms lead you to a narrow alley. Laughter flows from beneath a door. It opens to a kaleidoscope of sound and colour, led by an azmari singing a song of invitation. A waiter smiles as you glance in the book — you order a bira and some ocholoni. The day had started with a mountain top view of the Blue Nile and now the vibrant city nightlife takes you in…

  • new pronunciation guide and Amharic script

  • expanded dictionary with over 1000 words

  • grammar essentials for building your own sentences

  • cultural information and basic travel tips

  • phrases for every traveller  click here to purchase book or to view details


Colloquial Amharic: The Complete Course for Beginners
by David Appleyard

A thorough course on Amharic--the official language of Ethiopia. Ideal for anyone seeking to develop a firm command of the language, whether studying independently or with a teacher.

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 Bless Ethiopia
 by Richard Pankhurst, Kazuyoshi Nomachi
From the beauty of Labilela's rock churches to the traditional ceremonies of the people of the Omo Valley, this book reveals the hidden face of this striking, mysterious land. click here to purchase book or to view details
The Ethiopians: A History (Peoples of Africa)
by Richard Pankhurst
This is a history of the Ethiopians from pre-history to the present day. Drawing on research in archeology, anthropology, linguistics and on recent historiography, the book charts the development of Ethiopian peoples and their society, placing emphasis on the African origins of Ethiopian civilization.The book opens with a review of Ethiopian prehistory, showing how the Ethiopian section of the African Rift Valley has come to be seen as the "cradle of humanity". It describes, for instance, the discovery of the remains of the oldest known hominid, "Lucy", in the middle Awash Valley, in 1974. The book then discusses Ethiopia in biblical time, reconsidering, for example, the legend of the Queen of Sheba. The author examines the various dynasties that ruled in the period up to the first Portuguese mission, and explores the subsequent political and religious struggles between Christians, Muslims and Falashas. He discusses the social and economic effects of key stages in Ethiopian history such as the Gondar period and the era of the "Judges".The book also examines the succession of modernizing monarchs that followed, culminating in the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie. The book concludes with a review of Ethiopian history and culture considering contemporary Ethiopia within an historical context. click here to purchase book or to view details
Haile Selassie's War
by Anthony Mockler
"Half-man, half-snake" was how the Emperor Haile Selassie was described by one of his most ferocious rivals, the eunuch Balcha, who had commanded the artillery at the battle of Adowa where the first Italian invasion of Ethiopia was bloodily repulsed. Forty years later the old Galla warrior was to die, machine-gun in hand, once again attempting, this time without success to halt the Italian intruders.
Anthony Mocker's immensely readable epic history is divided
into three parts. First the scene is set in Ethiopia, still feudal, and in Italy, newly fascist. The second part describes in compelling detail the Italian invasion and the battles in the
north: it ends with the invaders in undisputed control of their
new Roman Empire and with Haile Selassie living in apparently hopeless exile near Bath.

The final section recounts how, following Italy's entry into World War II, British Somali land was invaded and conquered and fears of a British debacle spread all over East Africa. But then the tide of battle turned. As Mussolini's dreams crumbled into dust and his armies into defeat, the ex-Emperor, supported by
the bold but amateurish troops of Orde Wingate's Gideon Force, fought his way step by step back into full control of his Empire, despite all the attempts to stop him by Italians, Ethiopians, and even by his allies the British.

First published in 1984, this revised edition of Anthony Mockler's acclaimed history contains a new foreword by the author. Praised as "a memorable book" by John Keegan in the Sunday Times, Haile Selassie's War remains an epic tale of colonial ambition, warfare, and heroism. click here to purchase book or to view details
The Quest for the Ark of the Covenant: The True History of the Tablets of Moses by Stuart Munro-Hay
The story of one historian's search in Ethiopia to find the Ark of the Covenant A n object is kept in a chapel in the old crenelated church of Mary of Zion in Aksum, Ethiopia, that emperors, patriarchs and priests have assured the world is the most important religious relic of all time: The Ark of the Covenant. Are the legends true? Or is this story a monumental deception? In a triumph of historical detective work, acclaimed Ethiopia expert Stuart Munro-Hay traces the extraordinary legend of Ethiopia's Ark through ancient texts, local stories, from the Bible and from the writings of sixteenth and seventeenth century Jesuits up to modern times, before he reaches his conclusions. The Quest for the Ark of the Covenantpromises to settle the mystery of the Ark in Aksum once and for all.
A Modern Translation of the Kebra Nagast: (The Glory of Kings)
by Miguel F. Brooks (Editor)
Note from the Editor, This volume contains an English translation of the famous Ethiopian work, Kebra Nagast, The Glory Of Kings. This book has been held in the highest honour in Ethiopia for several centuries and has been, and still is, venerated by the people as containing the final proof of their descent from the Hebrew Patriarchs, and of the kinship of their kings of the Solomonic line with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
In other words, the book proves:

1. That the lawful kings of Ethiopia were descended from Solomon, King of Israel.

2. That the Tabernacle of the Law of God, the Ark of the Covenant was brought from Jerusalem to Aksum by Menyelek, Solomon's firstborn son.

3. That the God of Israel transferred His place of abode on earth from Jerusalem to Aksum, the ecclesiastical capital of Ethiopia. click here to purchase book or to view details
Ethiopia, the Unknown Land: A Cultural and Historical Guide
by Stuart Munro-Hay
"Dr. Munro-Hay is a scholar of distinction. His work, always readable, delves deeply into all aspects of Ethiopia’s ancient history. It can be read with profit alike by the scholar, the ‘ordinary reader,’ and the tourist intent on unraveling the mysteries of the beautiful Ethiopian wonderland." --Richard Pankhurst, Director Emeritus, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa
"Munro Hay is one of the foremost academic authorities of the region's history and culture..."--African Business
"This is a highly interesting book, providing a valuable and up-to-date account of the state of knowledge concerning all the major sites of the country." --Dr. Patrick Gilkes, journalist and author of A Modern History of Ethiopia
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The Rastafari Ible
by Jahson Atiba I. Alemu
"The glorious history of the Ethiopian Empire begins with the legendary meeting of MAKEDA, the Queen of Sheba, and King SOLOMON of Israel" click here to purchase book or to view details



Ethiopia in Pictures (Visual Geography Series) by Jeffrey Zuehlke


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Notes from the Hyena's Belly by Nega Mezlekia


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Concise Amharic Dictionary by Wolf Leslau

Although Amharic is the national language of Ethiopia and English its international language, until publication of this book in hardcover there was no concise Amharic-English, English-Amharic dictionary. Students of Amharic as well as visitors to Ethiopia and foreign workers will benefit from this concise dictionary with phonetic transcriptions that allow for its use by those unfamiliar with Amharic script.
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Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society by Donald N. Levine


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