Sealed and Delivered

G. L. Steer
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ISBN 9780571255160 Format Paperback
Published 03/11/2009 Length 270 pages

About Book

Sealed and Delivered was first published in 1942. In a way, it is a sequel to Caesar in Abyssinia (also reissued in Faber Finds) which covered the Italian invasion of Ethiopia up to May 1936 when the capital, Addis Ababa was occupied. Sealed and Delivered continues the story until the expulsion of the Italians in 1941 and beyond. Richard Pankhurst, in his introduction, writes, 'Ethiopia's history, as Steer saw it, did not however end there, with victory over Italy. When the fighting died down, the first country to e freed in WW2 still faced major problems. Those resulting from the erstwhile invasion included, he said, a still partially operative colour-bar, the complex question of ex-enemy property - and the country's status vis-a-vis Great Britain, its liberator and ally, whose forces ended up occupying the country. Steer believed that Ethiopia itself would solve these problems, and that its independence, soon to be sealed by international treaty, was delivered to its rightful rulers: the Ethiopian people: Sealed and Delivered.'

Both Caesar in Abyssinia and Sealed and Delivered are quite largely autobiographical. That gives them their strength. For Steer writing about Ethiopia was much more than a journalistic assignment, he was a friend of the Emperor's and a partisan for his country. As Nick Rankin has observed, 'the mild Christianity that he inherited from them (his parents) seems to have given him sympathy for the underdog as well as inoculation against totalitarianism.'

  • About G. L. Steer

    G. L. Steer (1909-1944) was one of the great war correspondents of the twentieth-century. Born in South Africa, educated at Winchester and Oxford, after an apprenticeship in journalism he went to Ethiopia in July 1935 to cover the forthcoming Italian invasion. He remained loyal to the Ethiopians and their emperor, Haile Selassie 'till the end' and helped in the latter's restoration to his throne in 1941.

    Two of the three books G. L. Steer wrote about Ethiopia and the Italian occupation - Caesar in Abyssinia and Sealed and Delivered - are reissued in Faber Finds. He also wrote the official history, The Abyssinian Campaigns. His masterpiece, The Tree of Gernika, is reissued in Faber Finds as well.

    The Tree of Gernika: a Field Study of Modern War is a first-hand account of the struggle of the Basque Autonomous Republic in the Spanish Civil War, from the burning of Irun to the fall of Bilbao. During this campaign Steer filed his most important dispatch about the destruction of Gernika (Guernica) by Nazi aircraft.

    In the Second World War G. L. Steer worked as an army intelligence officer: he died on Christmas Day 1944 when he crashed an overloaded jeep in Bengal.

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