A senior adviser to the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and Sudan South offers a window into the process to negotiate the independence of South Sudan and the unraveling of peace in the new nation, shattering the promise of liberation and exposing the hubris of American backers of the freedom fighters there.
A Rope From the Sky...is a masterful account of the birth and near-death of a nation. Minnesota native Vertin, a seasoned diplomat and journalist active in Sudan for decades, offers a wealth of 'you are there' reportage and revelatory interviews with South Sudan’s founding fathers. He seams together a staggeringly complicated puzzle, re-creating the savage street battles and high-level diplomacy that has informed South Sudan’s infancy and childhood. But much of the book’s texture comes from beautiful portraits of the South Sudanese people, as they carve out lives in thatch-roofed tukuls in the bush and in Juba’s electronic shops and open-air markets. A Rope From the Sky is an invaluable contribution to the literature of global politics, an intimate diary of a young nation’s tenuous struggle to survive, and a cautionary tale of two men whose personal animus pushed their country to the brink.
In this extensively detailed history of South Sudan achieving independence from Sudan in 2011, and its tragic collapse back into violence since 2013, Vertin makes an ardent effort to shine light onto the young nation’s internal politics, external influences, and larger-than-life personas involved in this complex and precarious situation ... the strength of his argument is rooted in his years spent with both regional leaders and citizenry as a former senior advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. Vertin offers unprecedented access ... The gut-wrenching effort of the South Sudanese to escape or endure is especially revealing. Vertin provides a vitally important, expert account of the little-understood founding of a struggling nation.
Vertin, a former NGO analyst and adviser to the U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, brings an insider’s knowledge to this gripping, well-written account of South Sudan ... Especially cogent is Vertin’s analysis of the decades-long, unwavering, and largely uncritical support for the SPLM from American evangelicals, the Congressional Black Caucus, advocacy groups, and proponents of 'drop-in Hollywood activism' ... The inclusion of stories from ordinary people the author came to know over his time in South Sudan rounds out the book and makes it much more nuanced. This work will appeal to the general reader interested in African politics, conflict resolution, and international diplomacy.