Four novels followed, along with books of essays and short stories.
Book review: There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe - The Scotsman
Achebe left Igboland to attend Government College Umuahia, an elite establishment run on English public school lines. It was here he first encountered the charismatic Christopher Okigbo. In , Achebe became a producer for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, remaining there through independence until the massacre of Igbos that sparked Biafran secession the following year.
The beginning of the nightmare was the first Nigerian coup of Clearly a case of fact imitating fiction and nothing else, but some military leaders believed that I must have something to do with the coup. There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe: review.
Fleeing Lagos for the east, Achebe joined the forces of the Biafran leader, Emeka Ojukwu, who declared the independence of the Republic of Biafra on May 30 War soon followed and at first the Biafrans were successful, alarming Britain, which was anxious to preserve oil holdings under a unified Nigeria.
We now know that France, the other former colonial power in the region, secretly sent two large weapons shipments to the Biafrans. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was also trying to extend its influence, sending arms to boost the federal Nigerian military government.
Achebe has always been an avowed anti-colonialist, but he places the tragedy of Biafra, in which up to three million died many from starvation and disease at the door of federal Nigeria. Other Nigerians tell a different story, however, and Achebe is not blind to the failings of Ojukwu as a leader.
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Much of the rest of the book concerns his disgust, in exile at US universities, with the failures and corruption of Nigerian political leadership. Overall There Was a Country is a mixed bag. The scholarly apparatus does not hide a failure to fully organise the material. Love puzzles?
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Book review: There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe
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