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Hodges, Norman E.
Typed Letter Signed, Masaku, Kenya, to Eric Vega, Poughkeepsie, New York, October 23, 1977

quarto, two pages, with retained mailing envelope, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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Hodges writes to Vega describing his work in Africa including an extended interview with Idi Amin over a period of four days in Kampala:

"Dear Eric,

... I had a tremendous time of it in Uganda. My 16 hours of interviews with Idi Amin were spread out over 4 days, and each hour was filled with some tension, considerable suspense, and constant revelation. The man is difficult to fathom. His moods seem mercurial. I was received twice at his offices and twice at his residence in the suburbs of Kampala. He has a quick and ingratiating charm - but it exists at surface level, like a thin veneer. Sometimes he showed flashes of anger, irritation, and incredulity at a number of my questions (I had drawn up an extensive interview questionnaire - and the queries concerning press reports and foreign criticism of his personal rule and regime were the ones that appeared to bother him). However, the man was generally gracious, often times bombastic, and almost always wary. He had me stay over for lunch on one occasion and for dinner twice - so it was a rather intimate and intense 4 days. I look back upon these interviews now with a keen realization that their value lies not so much in the precise responses that Amin made to questions - but rather in the insights which the contact provided into the man's personality, temperament, and thought processes. Yet I was very relieved to leave Kampala when it was over - and Amin! 

I am now doing research in the Masaku area which is one of the most beautiful (scenically) locations in Kenya. It is one of the oldest towns in Kenya (only Mombasa is more ancient), is an educational and cultural center, is an Akamba tribal center, is famous for wood carving, and is set in a valley surrounded by the breathtaking Iveti Hills (where my wife comes from). I am researching the African (Akamba) response to forced military conscription and service in the Colonial (British) armed forces during the Second World War and, comparatively, their reaction to involvement in the Mau Mau movement or the so-called Emergency of the early 1950s (which was almost entirely voluntary and linked, of course, to the independence struggle).  I interviewed men in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s (and there are quite a few of these around) using a tape recorder and a research assistant (who serves as translator and general aide). ..."