There Was A Country by Chinua Achebe
A Personal History of Biafra

62%

5 Critic Reviews

Like his nostalgia for Biafra, Achebe’s judgment on contemporary Nigeria seems excessive — more the products of a writer’s jaundiced backward glances than a coming to grips with the reality of what was and what is.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From the legendary author of Things Fall Apart—a long-awaited memoir of coming of age in a fragile new nation, and its destruction in a tragic civil war

For more than forty years, Chinua Achebe has maintained a considered silence on the events of the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering account of one of modern Africa’s most disastrous events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature. A marriage of history and memoir, vivid firsthand observation and decades of research and reflection, There Was a Country is a work whose wisdom and compassion remind us of Chinua Achebe’s place as one of the great literary and moral voices of our age.
 

About Chinua Achebe

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Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. His first novel, Things Falls Apart, became a classic of international literature and required reading for students worldwide. He also authored four subsequent novels, two short-story collections, and numerous other books. He was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and, for over 15 years, was the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. In 2007, Achebe was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement. He died in 2013.
 
Published October 11, 2012 by Penguin Books. 364 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for There Was A Country
All: 5 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Adam Nossiter on Nov 01 2012

Like his nostalgia for Biafra, Achebe’s judgment on contemporary Nigeria seems excessive — more the products of a writer’s jaundiced backward glances than a coming to grips with the reality of what was and what is.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Justin Cartwright on Aug 03 2013

This important book tells a powerful story from within Achebe's world, a world made lucidly and movingly real by a great writer.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Noo Saro-Wiwa on Oct 05 2012

The final chapter is an exhortation to better governance, in which he examines corruption, ethnic bigotry, state failure and the steps Nigeria must take to rehabilitate itself.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Andrew Rosenbaum on Oct 11 2012

The whole makes for a remarkable type of history, at once personal and objective. If one is at all interested in Africa, this book should not be missed.

Read Full Review of There Was A Country: A Person... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Rob Spillman on Nov 09 2012

Much of the prose here is flat and uninspired (and seemingly unedited).

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Reader Rating for There Was A Country
87%

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