There Was a Country
There Was a Country
Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143124030, 333pp.
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
For more than forty years, Chinua Achebe 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. Decades in the making, There Was a Country is a towering account of one of modern Africa's most disastrous events, from a writer whose words and courage 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.
"Foreign Policy Must Read 2012" by Books from Global Thinkers
“Chinua Achebe’s history of Biafra is a meditation on the condition of freedom. It has the tense narrative grip of the best fiction. It is also a revelatory entry into the intimate character of the writer’s brilliant mind and bold spirit. Achebe has created here a new genre of literature in which politico-historical evidence, the power of story-telling, and revelations from the depths of the human subconscious are one. The event of a new work by Chinua Achebe is always extraordinary; this one exceeds all expectation.”—Nadine Gordimer, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
“A fascinating and gripping memoir.” —The Wall Street Journal
“There Was a Country ought to be essential reading…an eclectic range of insights and fascinating anecdotes.”—Financial Times
“Achebe writes in a characteristically modest fashion…Like much of Achebe’s other work, this book about the progress of war and the presence of violence has a universal quality. In a world where sectarian hatreds augmented by political mediocrity have fractured Syria and threaten to bring Israel and Iran to blows, There Was a Country is a valuable account of how the suffering caused by war is both unnecessary and formative.”—Newsweek
"Memoir and history are brought together by a master storyteller."