An Ikwerre Igbo, Elechi Amadi was born in Aluu, Nigeria. He was educated at the elite Government College, Umuahia, and at the University College, Ibadan. After working briefly as a secondary school teacher, he was commissioned into the Nigerian army and remained at the Nigerian Defense Academy in Kaduna until his voluntary retirement and return to the teaching profession on the eve of the Nigerian civil war in 1965. During the war, Amadi opposed the Biafran cause. His unpleasant encounters with the Biafran authorities are recorded in Sunset in Biafra, a memoir in which he portrays not only himself but also his Ikwerre people as having been coerced into a sad and senseless war against Nigeria by their ambitious and overbearing Igbo neighbors. Since the end of the civil war, however, Amadi has come to be cynical and critical about the divisive social developments in Nigeria. Amadi's portrait of Nigerian society in his first post-civil war novel, Estrangement (1986), vividly evokes the image of the total destruction of time-honored individual and community bonds in the prewar society. Amadi now lives in retirement near Port Harcourt, the setting of his first novels-The Concubine (1958) and The Great Ponds (1969)-in which Igbo cultural ambience remains unmistakable, despite the author's earlier politically motivated attempts to redefine his ethnolinguistic identity.