Michael Holman

Independence Days

There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra

By

Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 333pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

The author is one of Africa’s finest novelists, his subject is one of Africa’s greatest tragedies, the accusations he makes could not be more serious, and his prognosis for Nigeria is grim indeed. This combination should make for a compelling read. Instead the result is a quirky mix of opinion, autobiography, history and polemic, uneven in quality and partisan in perspective.

It has been more than forty years since Nigeria’s civil war over the breakaway state of Biafra ended. Chinua Achebe, its best-known son, has at last broken his silence on the subject: ‘It is for the sake of the future of Nigeria, for our children

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