Paperback review: There Was a Country, By Chinua Achebe
Sunday 07 July 2013
The country was the breakaway Republic of Biafra, which seceded from Nigeria in 1967, in response to the continuing persecution of the Igbo people.
For three years they fought to maintain independence, in a brutal war during which many civilians died of starvation, with no help from the West, and especially not from the then British prime minister, Harold Wilson. Chinua Achebe was in the thick of events and his book is a fine example of witness literature, combining personal reminiscence, history, and poetry. Achebe’s style is simple and direct, almost matter-of-fact at times, but it’s this very plainness which gives the book its moral force. Biafra was eventually re-absorbed into federal Nigeria, but, as Achebe made clear in this, his last book, the scars are a long time healing.
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees