There Was a Country A Personal History of Biafra

ISBN-10: 1594204829
ISBN-13: 9781594204821
Edition: 2012
Authors: Chinua Achebe
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Description: From the legendary author ofThings Fall Apartcomes a longawaited memoir about coming of age with a fragile new nation, then watching it torn asunder in a tragic civil warThe defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian civil war,  More...

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Book details

List price: $27.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/11/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

From the legendary author ofThings Fall Apartcomes a longawaited memoir about coming of age with a fragile new nation, then watching it torn asunder in a tragic civil warThe defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe’s people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war’s full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa’s most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.Achebe masterfully relates his experience, bothas he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria’s birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country’s promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To readThere Was a Countryis to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers—they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people.Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose,There Was a Countryis a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe’s place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age.

Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was born on November 16, 1930 in Ogidi, Nigeria. He studied English, history and theology at University College in Ibadan from 1948 to 1953. After receiving a second-class degree, he taught for a while before joining the Nigeria Broadcasting Service in 1954. He was working as a broadcaster when he wrote his first two novels, and then quit working to devote himself to writing full time. Unfortunately his literary career was cut short by the Nigerian Civil War. During this time he supported the ill-fated Biafrian cause and served abroad as a diplomat. He and his family narrowly escaped assassination. After the civil war, he abandoned fiction for a period in favor of essays, short stories, and poetry. His works include Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, No Longer at Ease, A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah, and There Was a Country. He also wrote four children's books including Chike and the River and How the Leopard Got His Claws. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize for his "overall contribution to fiction on the world stage." He also worked as a professor of literature in Nigeria and the United States. He died following a brief illness on March 21, 2013 at the age of 82.

Introduction
Pioneers of a New Frontier
The Magical Years
Primary Exposure
Leaving Home
The Formative Years at Umuahia and Ibadan
The Umuahia Experience
The Ibadan Experience
Meeting Christie and Her Family
Discovering Things Fall Apart
A Lucky Generation
The March to Independence
The Cradle of Nigerian Nationalism
Post-Independence Nigeria
The Decline
The Role of the Writer in Africa
1966 (poem)
January 15, 1966, Coup
The Dark Days
Benin Road (poem)
A History of Ethnic Tension and Resentment
The Army
Countercoup and Assassination
The Pogroms
Penalty of Godhead (poem)
The Aburi Accord
Generation Gap (poem)
The Nightmare Begins
The Nigeria-Biafra War
The Biafran Position
The Nigerian Argument
The Role of the Organization of African Unity
The Triangle Game: The UK, France, and the United States
The Writers and Intellectuals
The War and the Nigerian Intellectual
The Life and Work of Christopher Okigbo
The Major Nigerian Actors in the Conflict: Ojukwu and Gowon
The Aristocrat
The Gentleman General
The First Shot (poem)
The Biafran Invasion of the Mid-West
Gowon Regroups
The Asaba Massacre
Biafran Repercussions
Blood, Blood, Everywhere
The Calabar Massacre
Biafra, 1969 (poem)
The Republic of Biafra
The Intellectual Foundation of a New Nation
The Biafran State
The Biafran Flag
The Biafran National Anthem
The Military
Ogbunigwe
Biafran Tanks
A Tiger Joins the Army
Freedom Fighters
Traveling on Behalf of Biafra
Refugee Mother and Child (A Mother in a Refugee Camp) (poem)
Life in Biafra
The Abagana Ambush
Air Raid (poem)
The Citadel Press
The Ifeajuna Manuscript
Staying Alive
Death of the Poet: "Daddy, Don't Let Him Die!"
Mango Seedling (poem)
Refugees
We Laughed at Him (poem)
The Media War
Narrow Escapes
Vultures (poem)
The Fight to the Finish
The Economic Blockade and Starvation
The Silence of the United Nations
Azikiwe Withdraws Support for Biafra
The Recapture of Owerri
Biafra Takes an Oil Rig: "The Kwale Incident"
1970 and The Fall
The Question of Genocide
The Arguments
The Case Against the Nigerian Government
Gowon Responds
Nigeria's Painful Transitions: A Reappraisal
Corruption and Indiscipline
State Failure and the Rise of Terrorism
State Resuscitation and Recovery
After a War (poem)
Postscript: The Example of Nelson Mandela
Appendix: Brigadier Banjo's Broadcast to Mid-West
Notes
Index

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