Robert Silverberg might dispute Edmonds' assertion that Ethiopia was the kingdom of the legendary Prester John (see The Realm of Prester John, 1971). Yet that medieval chimera certainly sums up the historical relationship between Ethiopia and Europe. The Portuguese helped repulse Moslem invaders but their introduction of Roman Catholicism plunged the Coptic Christian kingdom into civil war. The byzantine tyrant Tewodros forced European technicians to build him an unworkably oversized cannon, then threw them in prison, and when the British finally launched a campaign to save Victoria's subjects from Tewodros, the cannon exploded. The late Haile Selassie (originally known as Ras Tafari) survived the intrigues that traditionally surrounded the Lion Throne and became perhaps the first Ethiopian to win a world-wide reputation; Edmonds concludes that while the League of Nations failed to oppose Italy's invasion, Haile Sellasie successfully used world opinion to head off a postwar British takeover. This latest of Emonds' engrossing and exotic histories amplifies rather than supplants existing titles such as Perl's Ethiopia and Kaula's Land and People.