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First Raise a Flag Reviews

First Raise a Flag by Peter Martell

First Raise a Flag

How South Sudan Won the Longest War but Lost the Peace

Peter Martell

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Publication date: 6 Sep 2018
ISBN: 9781849049597

When South Sudan's war began, the Beatles were playing their first hits and reaching the moon was an astronaut's dream. Half a century later, with millions massacred in Africa's longest war, the continent's biggest country split in two.  It was an extraordinary, unprecedented experiment.

4 stars out of 5
5 Feb 2019

"Peter Martell’s moving evocation of South Sudan’s slide into civil war"

What in the end movingly comes across from Martell’s accurate analysis, description and storytelling is his love for the South Sudanese people. As for all those who visit or work in the country, these are not faces in a crowd: they are people who actually live there, who, like everywhere else, want a job, want to look after their families, educate their sons and daughters, contribute to society, and enjoy themselves.


4 stars out of 5
4 Nov 2018

"This chilling account of the war in South Sudan gives a voice to those trapped by the brutality"

Martell, a BBC reporter based in Juba, the new country’s capital, was there to witness the optimism and joy that greeted independence. His experience, gained over years of living in and reporting on the country, is invaluable and notably absent from many other accounts.


Historical narrative and careful analysis are thus mixed with interviews with individuals chosen to illustrate the broader story. Each draws a new portrait. Martell is a sympathetic and sensitive listener and his writing powerful and moving. We hear the voices of those who have fought, fled, struggled, hoped and suffered; we see both the celebrations and the skeletons.