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Review Of Chinua Achebe's "There Was A Country" - Literature - Nairaland

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Review Of Chinua Achebe's "There Was A Country" by Raustin(m): 2:36pm On Jul 12, 2020
After Reading There was a country by Chihua Achebe I am left with a strong disk-like for the way the Nigerian Army went about the Civil War.

Achebe used his literary prowess to Paint the Nigerian Army as high handed in their War and sought sympathy for the Biafran side from his readers.

His main Villain in the book was General Yakubu Gowon. he described Gowon as soldier with not too outstanding personality traits or intelligence as a against his emphasis on the pedigree of Col. Ojukwu.

This bias in narration is expected because himself was a key player in the Biafran government while it lasted. the book is a narrative that would interest any history lover because it gives a perspective on the intellectual and diplomatic battles that were fought during the war.

I would also recommend that to get a balanced view , you'd read opposing accounts by actors on the Nigerian side. Gen Obasanjo's books would do good justice.

Achebe crafted the book in such away that he gave a little bit fair criticism of Biafra.
In the book he often criticized some actions Ojukwu took and pointed out what could've been done better.

I try to judge a book by how it makes me feel after reading it and how much verifiable information it carries.

The book satisfied my curiosity to understand the Biafran argument.it also provided viable statistics to ascertain claims that have been made previously. For example,it can be inferred that Achebe posited that Nigeria's economic progress as a country was connected to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Igbos.infact he celebrates the Igbo culture of individualism and semidemocratic leadership.

He claims these traits are what made the Igbos progressive (more progressive than northern Nigerians). I don't intend to debate that but it seems the statistics he used in his books have proven these claims to be factual.
As it is prevalent with any historian little attempt is made to criticize ones own side so as to appear unbiased and objective.this skill appears severally in Achebe's books as he mentioned things the Biafran government could've done better and some atrocities committed by the Biafran soldiers.but these criticisms did little to balance the scale on which the Nigerian soldiers were tilted as unintelligent-almost-blood-thirsty savages and the Biafran soldiers as smart elite forces that were able to improvise and maximize impact despite their short comings.

Achebe boldly chastisd Britain for refusing to assist in the war effort either to broker peace or pressure Nigeria to cease fire. Perhaps this informed his dislike for Yakubu Gowon as he called Gowon a stooge of the crown.
The book gives glimpses of Achebe's Life. How the war affected him,his friends and family. Many persons claimed that Biafra won the war of propaganda against Nigerian troupes. the possible Reason behind this victory is seen in the assembling of intelligentsia on the Biafran side with the formation of citadel press where very important academic and literary genii gathered to document the Biafran struggle in different literary styles. The result is lament of the deer and how the leopard got it's claws

. Two books that propagated the Biafran agenda

I wonder why Nigerian history is not taught in schools. even autonomous state governments and local governments have deliberately refused to teach history.discussions on their Nigerian civil war should be heard loudly from the classroom. more actors in the war should document their experiences so as to preserve history and give the future a wjolisisyic view of what really happened.

I would love to read Yakubu Gowon's own memoir. I hope I can find a book written by him on the war.

On a scale of 1-10 I'd rate this book 6.3
Re: Review Of Chinua Achebe's "There Was A Country" by Ofudboss(m): 8:05pm On Jul 12, 2020
Ftc

Finally...
The fight for the independent republic of Biafra has been an age long struggle. We see intellectuals like Chinua Achebe in their prime through their literary prowess express solidarity for the cause which further helped to publicise the movement. This particular book by Achebe posits an interesting narrative. However I am of the opinion that Nigeria is better been United as one
Re: Review Of Chinua Achebe's "There Was A Country" by Onalow: 1:49pm On Jul 13, 2020
Ofudboss:
Ftc

Finally...
The fight for the independent republic of Biafra has been an age long struggle. We see intellectuals like Chinua Achebe in their prime through their literary prowess express solidarity for the cause which further helped to publicise the movement. This particular book by Achebe posits an interesting narrative. However I am of the opinion that Nigeria is better been United as one


Yes, Nigeria has a large economic and socio-political potential based on her vast population. However, it seems 'we' have a penchant for sweeping issues under the carpet. We should be concerned about what led to the agitation for Biafra, has it been addressed? What are 'Biafrans' asking for? But no, it has always been an effort towards silencing the entire thing. Wonder why we never learned anything about the war in school, do we even still have history as a subject in secondary schools?

So, Nigeria may be better united, but not with preponderance given to one or two regions.

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