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Achebe’s memoir on Biafran listed on 2012 IOS best books


Professor Chinua Achebe’s latest book, “There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra”, is among books listed on the IOS Books of the Year, 2012.

The book adjudged as one of the best in the biography and memoir category by the international organization, despite generating lots of controversies and debates at home, was described on The Independent (London) as “the book that we’ve been waiting for since 1967, and the start of the Biafran War”.

“In an era in which memoirs seem mostly to be written by young celebrities with nothing to say, how refreshing that this year’s best examples are genuinely long-awaited life stories from those who know life, and a story, when they see it. There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (Allen Lane, £20) really is the book that we’ve been waiting for since 1967, and the start of the Biafran War”.

Achebe’s book was further noted as, “the first non-fiction account of that period from the author of the novel “Things Fall Apart”, and as such takes a measured, long view of a confusing and ultimately pretty futile conflict”.

This long-awaited memoir of  Prof Achebe’s experiences of the 1967-1970 Biafran war although is clearly stated, is his personal “account of coming of age during one of the 20th century’s greatest humanitarian disasters”, has received so much criticism in Nigeria.

Continuing, the report pointed out that, “Though Achebe is known as the ‘father of modern African literature’, and made his name writing about the history of Nigeria, this is the first time that he has directly addressed in his writing, the civil war which was the defining experience of his own life and his country’s recent history.


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