The first Canadian diplomat to be posted to war-torn Sudan, Nicholas Coghlan was a natural choice to lead Canada's representation in the new Republic of South Sudan soon after the country was founded in 2011. In late 2013, Coghlan and his wife Jenny were in the capital, Juba, when it erupted in gunfire and civil war pitted one half of the army against the other, Vice-President Machar against President Kiir, and the Nuer tribe against the Dinka. This action-focused narrative, grounded by accounts of meetings with key leaders and travels throughout the dangerous, impoverished hinterland of South Sudan, explains what happened in December 2013 and why. In harrowing terms, Collapse of a Country describes the ebb and flow of the war and the humanitarian tragedy that followed, the Coghlans” scramble to evacuate South-Sudanese Canadians from Juba, and the well-meant but often ill-conceived attempts of the international community to mitigate the misery and bring peace back to a land that has rarely known it. Coghlan's stark narrative serves as a lesson to politicians, diplomats, aid workers, and practitioners on the breakdown of governance and relationships between ethnic groups, and the often decisive role of international development representatives. Fast-paced and poignant, Collapse of a Country gives an insider's glimpse into the chaos, violence, and ethnic conflicts that emerged out of a civil war that has been largely ignored by the West.
Nicholas Coghlan, author of Far in the Waste Sudan and The Saddest Country, served in five Canadian embassies overseas before he was appointed Canada's first resident ambassador to South Sudan. He lives on his sailboat in Canada's Pacific Northwest.
?Collapse of a Country is a book that must be read by anyone who wishes to understand the complexity of the birth of this new nation. Nick's personal account of how he managed his role as an ambassador during this time is a remarkable reflection of his passion and integrity.” Roméo Dallaire and Shelly Whitman from the foreword
"Collapse of a Country draws from the author's special perspective as an ambassador who traveled widely through the South Sudan, from 2001 to 2016. His writing is vivid and detailed. Highly recommended." Choice
"Full of head-shaking examples of bureaucratic practices gone afoul, Coghlan's insistence that more could be done with practices and processes that respond to the needs of Canada's various embassies overseas provides some of the most stirring content of the book. [Collapse of a Country] is a useful and often-engaging account of South Sudan's first traumatic years. The work of Canada's diplomats in places like South Sudan deserves more attention, and hopefully books like this will continue to shed light on the good, bad, and ugly sides of this world." International Journal
?A highly personal and timely memoir that will be useful and compelling to students, scholars, and general readers, especially those who have worked and lived in South Sudan within the last two decades.” Marv Koop, former director of the AECOM Sudan / South Sudan program