King of Kings

Asfa Wossen-Asserate / foreword by Thomas Pakenham / translated by Peter Lewis

‘This magnificent biography … is diligently researched and fair-minded; Haile Salassie is at last accorded a proper dignity.’

‘An even-handed account of Haile Selassie’s successful autocracy is that precious thing: an African history written by an insider.’



‘Asserate crafts a biography of the late Ethiopian emperor that combines personal moments with a reasonably objective view of the man.’
Publishers Weekly

‘This is a thorough and in-depth view of the last Emperor of Ethiopia, told from the unique vantage point of his great-nephew.’
Foreward Reviews

‘Asfa-Wossen biography is not just a portrait of Hailselassie, but the story of the 20th century – its upheavals, promises and terrors. ’
Ethiopia Observer

‘The impressive, dazzling and complex personality of Haile Salassie, King of Kings and Conquering Lion, is conveyed in this biographical portrait’
New African

‘King of Kings is full of captivating details that only an insider could share; it is with great poise and warmth for the enigmatic leader while at the same time cognizant of the swelling unhappiness and criticism the Emperor faced from his own people impatient with the pace of change.’
Tadias Magazine

‘This is a superb, magnificent and totally gripping biography.’
Simon Sebag Montefiore

‘Asserate’s masterful, insider account of Haile Selassie… stands as an inspiration and warning to an entire continent.’
Alex Perry, author of The Rift: A New Africa Breaks Free


Haile Salassie, the scion of a dynasty that was reputed to descend from King Soloman, was a pioneer of African unity and independence, a staunch confederate of the Allies in their fight against the fascist Axis powers and the messiah of the Jamaican Rastafarian movement. A reformer and an autocracy,his rule was brought to a brutal and ignominious end when he was toppled and and murdered by communist rebels.

Asfa-Wossen Asserate – a close descendant, who knew the Emperor personally – for the first time brings clarity to the life of this impressive and complex personality. King of Kings is the story of the most eminent African ruler of the 20th century and the country he ruled through both stirring and tragic times.

ASFA-WOSSEN ASSERATE, born in 1948, is a prince of the Imperial House of Ethiopia. Educated at the German School in Addis Ababa, he later attended the University of Tübingen, Magdalene College, Cambridge, and the University of Frankfurt am Main, where he received a Ph. D in history. He has lived in Germany for over forty years and works as a consultant for African and Middle Eastrn affairs and as a political analyst. A bestselling author writing in German, he has been the recipient of two of the most distinguished literary prizes in the Federal Republic of Germany, the Adalbert von Chamisso Prize for Literature and the Jacob Grimm Prize for German Language. Asfa-Wossen Asserate is an honorary senator of the Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen.

Also by this author, African Exodus.

PETER LEWIS has had careers in university teaching and publishing and now works as a freelance translator and author.

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