My First Coup d'Etat by John Dramani Mahama
And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa

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As Mr. Mahama moves into high school, university and young adulthood, the elegiac tone with which he has recounted his childhood turns discordant.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

MY FIRST COUP D'ETAT is a literary nonfiction account that charts the coming of age of John Dramani Mahama in Ghana during the dismal post-independence "lost decades" of Africa. He was seven years old when rumors of that first coup reached his boarding school in Accra. His father was suddenly missing. "It is sometimes incorrectly referred to in texts as a bloodless coup, yet it was anything but," Mahama writes. "They tried, as best they could, with smiles and toffee, to shield me from their rising anxiety but I could feel it bouncing off the quick sideways glances they shot one another and taking flight like some dark, winged creature." John's father, a Minister of State, was in prison for more than a year. MY FIRST COUP D'ETAT offers a look at the country that has long been considered Africa's success story--from its founding as the first sub-Saharan nation to gain independence, to its current status as the only nation on the continent to have, thus far, met the majority of targets on hunger, poverty, and education set by the U.N. But these stories work on many levels--as fables, as history, as cultural and political analysis, and of course as the memoir of a young man who, unbeknownst to him or anyone else, is destined to become a leader in his own land. These are stories that rise above their specific settings and transport the reader--much like the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Nadine Gordimer--into a world all their own, one which straddles a time lost and explores the universal human emotions of love, fear, faith, despair, loss, longing, and hope despite all else.
 

About John Dramani Mahama

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John Dramani Mahama is a writer, historian, journalist, former member of Parliament and minister of state, and sitting president of the Republic of Ghana. This is his first book. He lives in Accra with his family and is currently at work on his second book.
 
Published July 3, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction
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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Melanie Kirkpatrick on Jul 10 2012

As Mr. Mahama moves into high school, university and young adulthood, the elegiac tone with which he has recounted his childhood turns discordant.

Read Full Review of My First Coup d'Etat: And Oth... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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