Cover image for There was a country : a personal history of Biafra
There was a country : a personal history of Biafra
Publication Information:
New York : Penguin Press, c2012.
Physical Description:
333 p. ; 24 cm.
Personal Subject:
Achebe's long-awaited account of coming of age during the defining experience of his life: the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War of 1967-1970.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 823.914 ACH 1 1
Book 823.914 ACH 1 1
Book 823.914 ACH 1 1

On Order



From the legendary author of Things Fall Apart comes a longawaited memoir about coming of age with a fragile new nation, then watching it torn asunder in a tragic civil war

The defining experience of Chinua Achebe's life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967-1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe's people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war's full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.

Achebe masterfully relates his experience, bothas he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria's birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country's promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read There Was a Country is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers--they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people.

Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe's place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age.

Author Notes

Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was born on November 16, 1930 in Ogidi, Nigeria. He studied English, history and theology at University College in Ibadan from 1948 to 1953. After receiving a second-class degree, he taught for a while before joining the Nigeria Broadcasting Service in 1954.

He was working as a broadcaster when he wrote his first two novels, and then quit working to devote himself to writing full time. Unfortunately his literary career was cut short by the Nigerian Civil War. During this time he supported the ill-fated Biafrian cause and served abroad as a diplomat. He and his family narrowly escaped assassination. After the civil war, he abandoned fiction for a period in favor of essays, short stories, and poetry.

His works include Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, No Longer at Ease, A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah, and There Was a Country. He also wrote four children's books including Chike and the River and How the Leopard Got His Claws. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize for his "overall contribution to fiction on the world stage." He also worked as a professor of literature in Nigeria and the United States. He died following a brief illness on March 21, 2013 at the age of 82.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 7

Publisher's Weekly Review

Achebe's reminiscences of Biafra, a country whichthat spent the entirety of its brief existence, from 1967 to 1970, in civil war with Nigeria, result in an uneasy mix of history and memoir. After an insightful, masterful account of his education, his attention wavers between the individual and the international without settling on a steady tone. Readers will find his legendary gift with imagery in several poems, as well as in details such as Biafran citizens being warned against wearing the colorful clothing most visible to Nigerian bombers, a brilliantly selected example of war's reach into the previously mundane. But the narrative as a whole never coalesces, and after Biafra declares independence it keeps swinging abruptly between the trivial and the heart-stopping: Achebe never unpacks; he tries to stay alive; his wife employs men to redecorate. Nagging questions remain at the end about his stance towards the conflict, during which he served as cultural ambassador for Biafra, while a closing call for "patriotic consciousness" to overcome Nigeria's current problems fails to convince. Only in a concluding poem does Achebe put his finger on the main theme of this stubbornly loyal celebration of unfulfilled possibility: "haunted revelry." Agent: Andrew Wylie, The Wylie Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

In this memoir, prominent Nigerian novelist Achebe (Things Fall Apart, 1959) shares his experience of the Nigerian Civil War (also known as the Biafran War) through historical narrative, personal recollections, an interview, and the occasional verse. A prominent intellectual and supporter of Biafran independence, Achebe had been openly critical of the Nigerian government; his novel A Man of the People even anticipated the military coup that launched the conflict. But he was also horrified by the brutality of the war and torn between his sympathy for the Biafran cause and his disappointment with the leaders of the Biafran independence movement. Writers were in a particularly difficult position, suggests Achebe: they could not blame the conflict solely on the colonial past, yet they also needed to accept that Nigeria needed to liberate itself anew, this time not from a foreign power but from its own corrupt, inept brothers and sisters. And as the civil war fades into history, Achebe warns that the root causes of the conflict political ineptitude, ethnic bigotry, corruption, oil-boom petrodollars remain present in modern-day Nigeria.--Driscoll, Brendan Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

Rumors of Nigeria's demise have been somewhat exaggerated. This turbulent and magnetic African megastate endures despite its intense regional, religious and other divisions (the country has an estimated 250 ethnic groups and more than 500 languages). Nigeria did fracture once, however, and it is this story that Chinua Achebe, a giant of African letters, tells. His memoir of the moment describes when the country, yoked together artificially by British colonizers, split apart at a cost of more than a million lives. Nigeria is the Texas of Africa: it's big and loud and brash, a place of huge potential, untapped talent, murderous conflict and petroleum riches. It also has a singular capacity for irony and self-reflection that is both cultural habit and survival tactic. It is difficult and often dangerous to get by in Nigeria unless you are a fortunate member of the infinitesimally small and mostly corrupt oil-fed elite. Acute awareness of your surroundings is a necessity; along with it goes another Nigerian trait, thinking and dreaming big. All these characteristics were in play when the nightmare for weak nation-states became reality in 1967. Seven years after Nigerian independence, the prosperous Ibos, dominant in the eastern part of the country and targets of persecution and pogroms, declared their independence. Led by the charismatic Oxford-educated, Shakespeare-loving Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, the fledgling nation called itself the Republic of Biafra. Achebe, an Ibo himself and the new country's pre-eminent intellectual, a product of Nigeria's finest English-style schools and author of "Things Fall Apart" - soon went to work at Biafra's Ministry of Information, serving as special envoy and chairman of a committee charged with writing a constitution for the new country. The architects of Biafra were correct in their frustration with the Nigerian government, which did not intervene as thousands of Ibos were massacred. But they were deluding themselves that Biafra was viable. The nascent state had virtually no chance of survival once the authorities in Lagos decided they were going to stamp out the secession in what they called a "police action." Was Biafra ever really a "country," as Achebe would have it? It had ministries, oil wells, a ragtag army, an often-shifting capital, official cars (Achebe had one) and a famous airstrip. But as a "country," it was stillborn. Nonetheless, for over two brutal years, the Biafran war dragged on at the insistence of Ojukwu - described as "brooding, detached and sometimes imperious" in a 1969 New York Times profile by Lloyd Garrison - and meddling international players. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed. As many as 6,000 a day starved to death once the federal government blockaded the ever diminishing Republic of Biafra But Ojukwu refused to give up. The final death toll was estimated at between one and three million people. It was the first conflict in Africa to draw much outside media attention; the photographs of starving Biafran children with distended bellies became symbols of African suffering, and they triggered an extensive Western relief effort. We get glimpses of this immense human tragedy in Achebe's characteristically plain-spoken narrative: the millions of citizens escaping the war zone, targets of the federal Nigerian planes even as they fled; the men and women driven mad by the grinding, endless war who "could often be seen walking seemingly aimlessly on the roads in tattered clothes, in conversation with themselves"; the federal soldier, who "wandered into an ambush of young men with machetes" and was murdered and mutilated "in a matter of seconds." But mostly Achebe's account is tinged with odd nostalgia for the ephemeral moment when Biafra seemed to birth a national culture. "One found a new spirit among the people, a spirit one did not know existed, a determination, in fact." This feeling - evidently alive for him a half-century later - recalls the spirit that imbues his most celebrated work, "Things Fall Apart," itself a fairy-tale-like re-creation of self-sufficient, indigenous nationhood. Literature for Achebe had a didactic function; working for officialdom thus was not a stretch. It is clear that the writer, long a resident of the United States and now a professor at Brown University, recalls this period as a golden age. "During the war years one never really unpacked," Achebe writes, but despite the hardships, he paints it as a time of unequaled excitement and stimulation. His committee produced a landmark speech for Ojukwu, the "Ahiara declaration," "an attempt to capture the meaning of the struggle for Biafran sovereignty." Yet when Achebe praises Ojukwu's "gift for oratory," the colors in the new nation's flag or the accomplished design of its new currency it is sharply at odds with the haunting images of the suffering engendered by the war: the famine, the bodies "rotting under the hot sun." His nostalgia seems jarring and misplaced. And that nostalgia, in turn, is a kind of justification for one of this book's underlying themes: bitterness over what Nigeria became after independence from Britain in 1960 - a stance familiar to those who follow the country and Achebe's regular critical pronouncements on it. "There was enough talent, enough education in Nigeria for us to have been able to arrange our affairs more efficiently, more meticulously, even if not completely independently, than we were doing. . . . Nigeria had people of great quality, and what befell us - the corruption, the political ineptitude, the war - was a great disappointment and truly devastating to those of us who witnessed it," he says. Writers faced political repression and "found that the independence their country was supposed to have won was totally without content Like the head of John the Baptist, this gift to Nigeria proved most unlucky." Worse, after the end of civil war, "a new era of great decadence and decline was born. It continues to this day," he laments. The country is a "laughingstock." His disappointment fortifies his belief that "the British governed their colony of Nigeria with considerable care." Achebe is careful to say that he is "not justifying colonialism." But this partially rose-tinted view of the colonial past - a view one sometimes hears from other elderly Nigerians confronting the chaos of daily life - surely has much to do with the favored status enjoyed by Her Majesty's onetime brilliant subject. Like his nostalgia for Biafra, Achebe's judgment on contemporary Nigeria seems excessive - more the products of a writer's jaundiced backward glances than a coming to grips with the reality of what was and what is. Nigeria today is a seething caldron, maddening in its contradictions and capacity for self-destruction but full of promise too, in its immense energy and human resources. As for judgments on Biafra - perhaps we should rely on Nigeria's other great man of letters, Wole Soyinka, whose blunt appraisal is that secession was "simply politically and militarily unwise." Adam Nossiter is West Africa bureau chief for The Times and the author of books on France and Mississippi. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, leader of the secessionist province of Biafra, circa 1968.

Choice Review

This is famed novelist Achebe's last book, made up of history, personal experience, and strong opinions on the treatment of the Igbo in the 1960s and beyond, and on the crisis of leadership in Nigeria. On one hand, this is an ethnic history, and on the other, a tale of African human experiences in a postcolonial world. Where these experiences cut across peoples and places, they resonate; where they are contextualized in ethnicities, they will provoke anger and resentment from other ethnicities in a highly politicized space. Much of the book should be treated as just one more addition to the cacophony of voices on the Nigerian civil war, rather than as an authoritative text. The historical passages, for example on British rule, deal with an already well-known story. The book's fascinating aspects are Achebe's description of his own experience as a boy in eastern Nigeria as part of the first generation of the privileged postcolonial elite, and as a member of the intellectual wing of the short-lived Republic of Biafra. His statements on the role of art in politics, the place of intellectuals in society, and the need to formulate enduring visions are truly measured and profound. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries. T. Falola University of Texas

Guardian Review

No writer is better placed than Chinua Achebe to tell the story of the Nigerian Biafran war from a cultural and political perspective. Yet, apart from an interview with Transition magazine in 1968 and a book of Biafran poems, Nigeria's most eminent novelist has kept a literary silence about the civil war in which he played a prominent role – until now. In his engrossing new memoir, There Was A Country, Achebe, now 81, finally speaks about his life during the conflict that nearly tore Nigeria apart in the late 60s. In many ways, the early part of Achebe's life mirrors the story of early Nigeria. Nicknamed "Dictionary", Achebe was a gifted Igbo student and enthusiastic reader, a member of the "Lucky Generation" of young students who rubbed shoulders at top institutions under the tutelage of Oxbridge colonials. They were effortlessly absorbed into the media, industry and civil service, serving a Nigeria driven by optimism on its way to freedom from British rule. By independence in 1960, Igbo people dominated commerce and the public sector in a land where the three biggest ethnic groups (the Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo) were jostling for supremacy. Achebe attributes Igbo domination to their self-confidence, inherent democratic values and adaptability, which were suited to Nigeria's modernising economy. But many Nigerians resented it, and Achebe admits that the Igbo could be cocky, brash and materialistic, though he rejects the popular suspicion that there was a pan-Igbo agenda to control Nigeria – his people have too strong an "individualistic ethic". Six years after independence, corruption and electoral rigging preceded a military coup that overthrew Nigeria's first prime minister, the Muslim northerner, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Although most of the coup-plotters were Igbo, Achebe disputes that it was an "Igbo" coup, partly on the basis that its leader, Major Nzeogwu, had grown up in the north and was Igbo in name only. Nevertheless, the murder of Nigeria's northern leaders led to pogroms in which 30,000 Igbos living in the north were killed. The bloodshed culminated in General Emeka Ojukwu's declaration in 1967 that the Igbos' south-eastern region would secede from a country in which his people "felt unwanted". Fearing the disintegration of Nigeria, the government blocked the secession with military force, backed by a UK government keen to protect its oil interests. Profoundly disappointed by this turn of events, Achebe left his job at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in Lagos and returned with his family to the south-east, now calling itself the Republic of Biafra. The Nigerian army launched a three-pronged attack to subdue the Biafrans, who fought back assiduously despite being out-resourced. Achebe describes a wartime spirit that inspired Biafran engineers to build army tanks out of reinforced Range Rovers and to invent the infamous ogbunigwe (bucket bomb) with devastating effect. Though he abhors violence, Achebe cites these as evidence of the quality of the Nigerian people, and he laments the corruption that strangled such ingenuity. In the middle chapters, memoir gives way to largely neutral historical analysis, with Achebe citing a range of voices, media reports and books. There are interesting insights into the war's two central players: Biafra's leader Ojukwu and Nigerian president, General Yakubu Gowon, both Sandhurst-trained young men. Rivalries between them and within their teams "confounded political science models". Possessing little administrative experience, the two men pursued ego-driven policies, and missed opportunities to end the conflict sooner. Achebe cites Biafran diplomat Raph Uwechue, who accused Ojukwu of choosing ideology over pragmatism when he rejected relief supplies from the British. In the following chapters, Achebe's personal story re-emerges. Despite the war, he lived a remarkably productive life. Driven by his belief in the political obligations of the writer, he became Biafra's international envoy, promoting the cause in Canada, Europe and Senegal. He set up a publishing company with his close friend Chris Okigbo, and became Biafra's communications minister, writing a manifesto for the republic. He describes being part of an intellectual elite that came together to recreate a Biafran microcosm of Nigeria's early spirit, their ideals drawn from a mix of traditional Igbo philosophy, US-style liberalism and socialism. As the federal army closed in, Achebe and his family moved from town to town before settling in his father's village. The atrocities proved inescapable: at a market, Achebe's wife Christie saw a bomb split a pregnant woman in two. Achebe relays such horrors – including the deaths of his mother and friend Okigbo – with stoic brevity; his strongest expressions of sorrow are his poems, such as the famous "Refugee Mother and Child". Reproduced from his 1971 Biafran poetry book Beware, Soul Brother, these verses are scattered between chapters, offering affecting interludes. As the conflict dragged on, Biafra buckled under a blockade so brutal it provoked an international outcry: mass starvation, kwashiorkor and mental illness devastated the Igbo landscape, where vultures, those "avian prognosticators of death", circled overhead. Biafra was the world's first properly televised conflict, and millions across the world were appalled by the horrors flickering on their screens. Such people as Joan Baez, John Lennon, Martin Luther King and Karl Vonnegut galvanised international responses to the tragedy, in an age before "Africa fatigue" had set in. By the time hostilities ended in 1970, three million Biafrans had died, in contrast to 100,000 casualties on the federal side. Igbos weren't mere casualties of war, Achebe insists, but victims of calculated genocide. Ojukwu, meanwhile, escaped to live in exile in Côte d'Ivoire, inviting accusations of cowardice. Achebe rationalises this move on the basis that if the Biafran leader had stayed in Nigeria, Gowon would have been less magnanimous and conciliatory towards Igbos after the war. Igbos were reintegrated into Nigerian society, but still faced economic discrimination. Achebe offers an excerpt of an interview in which Gowon tries to justify the crippling £20 flat fee given to every Biafran wanting to convert their Biafran currency back to the Nigerian naira. This sense of persecution still persists today: Achebe believes that Igbo people are the engine of Nigeria's advancement, stifled by a corrupt elite that prefers power and mediocrity to meritocracy. Igbo ostracisation, he says, is "one of the main reasons for the country's continued backwardness". Some might call this supremacism, but Achebe is ultimately a Nigerian patriot who sympathises with ordinary Igbos, rather than any broad Igbo power structure. The final chapter is an exhortation to better governance, in which he examines corruption, ethnic bigotry, state failure and the steps Nigeria must take to rehabilitate itself. This prescriptive wish9781448138296 list reminds us of the gap between theory and practice in Nigerian politics; it makes you pine for the likes of Achebe to govern. But sadly, he's not writing a manifesto; instead, we have in There Was A Country an elegy from a master storyteller who has witnessed the undulating fortunes of a nation, which – unlike young "Dictionary" – has yet to fulfil its potential

Kirkus Review

The eminent Nigerian author recounts his coming-of-age during the now scarcely remembered civil war of 19671970 that sundered his country. An Igbo by birth and heritage, born into a deeply Christian family in 1930, Achebe (The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays, 2009, etc.) grew up at a time when British colonial rule was at its orderly zenith and educational institutions in Nigeria were first-rate. These schools turned out the imminent Nigerian leaders and pioneers of modern African literature, who would assume power and position as Nigeria marched to independence in 1960. Yet within the vacuum left by the departing British, Nigeria became "a cesspool of corruption and misrule," with the numerous ethnic groups vying for power, especially the dominant Igbo in the east, the Yoruba on the coast, and Hausa/Fulani in the north. The Igbo were increasingly resented and persecuted for their education, competitive individualism and industriousness. The coup of Jan. 15, 1966 was ostensibly led by Igbo military leaders and was countered by bloody assassinations six months later, followed by pogroms against the Igbo by northerners. Igbo refugees flooded the Eastern Region, which refused to recognize the Nigerian government led by Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon; the consensus was building across the East, led by Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, that "secession was the only viable path." The East was declared the Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967, with the full backing of the Constituent Assembly and the best Igbo minds of the time, including Achebe. The arrangement proved disastrous, as Gowon aimed to crush the insurrection at all costs, starving Biafra by blockade and creating a global humanitarian disaster that killed an estimated 3 million, mostly children. Achebe looks at all sides of the conflict, inserting poems he wrote at the time and tributes to Nigerian writers and intellectuals. A powerful memoir/document of a terrible conflict and its toll on the people who endured it.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

Shortly after gaining independence from Britain in 1960, Nigeria was subject to a military coup and countercoup that resulted in the massacre of thousands of Igbo citizens. Fleeing to the east, the Igbo proclaimed the eastern region of the country the independent Republic of Biafra. The ensuing civil war ended in 1970 with Biafra's defeat. Achebe (Things Fall Apart) lends his voice to this bloody period in Nigeria's history through a blend of insightful political analysis, history, and memoir, interspersed with his poetry. Because of his prominence as an author and intellectual, Achebe was an integral part of the Biafran government, serving as a cultural ambassador. Yet he was also an Igbo trying to make sense of the brutality and keep his family safe. Achebe's personal stake in the Biafran war makes his account more than just a standard historical retelling. His writing reveals his love and sorrow for his people and his hope for Nigeria's future. VERDICT Achebe's book will appeal to scholars of Africa, but its reach will extend to all readers interested in learning more about the author's life and the life of his country.-Veronica Arellano Douglas, St. Mary's Coll. of Maryland Lib., St. Mary's City (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



An Igbo proverb tells us that a man who does not know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body. The rain that beat Africa began four to five hundred years ago, from the "discovery" of Africa by Europe, through the transatlantic slave trade to the Berlin Conference of 1885. That controversial gathering of the world's leading European powers precipitated what we now call the Scramble for Africa, which created new boundaries that did violence to Africa's ancient societies and resulted in tension-prone modern states. It took place without African consultation or representation, to say the least. Great Britain was handed the area of West Africa that would later become Nigeria, like a piece of chocolate cake at a birthday party. It was one of the most populous regions on the African continent, with over 250 ethnic groups and distinct languages. The northern part of the country was the seat of several ancient kingdoms, such as the Kanem-Bornu--which Usman dan Fodio and his jihadists absorbed into the Muslim Fulani Empire. The Middle Belt of Nigeria was the locus of the glorious Nok Kingdom and its world-renowned terra-cotta sculptures. The southern protectorate was home to some of the region's most sophisticated civilizations. In the west, the Oyo and Ife kingdoms once flourished majestically, and in the midwest the incomparable Benin Kingdom elevated artistic distinction to a new level. Across the Niger River in the East, the Calabar and the Nri kingdoms flourished. If the Berlin Conference sealed her fate, then the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates inextricably complicated Nigeria's destiny. Animists, Muslims, and Christians alike were held together by a delicate, some say artificial, lattice. Britain's indirect rule was a great success in northern and western Nigeria, where affairs of state within this new dispensation continued as had been the case for centuries, with one exception--there was a new sovereign, Great Britain, to whom all vassals pledged fealty and into whose coffers all taxes were paid. Indirect rule in Igbo land proved far more challenging to implement. Colonial rule functioned through a newly created and incongruous establishment of "warrant chiefs"--a deeply flawed arrangement that effectively confused and corrupted the Igbo democratic spirit. Africa's postcolonial disposition is the result of a people who have lost the habit of ruling themselves. We have also had difficulty running the new systems foisted upon us at the dawn of independence by "our colonial masters." Because the West has had a long but uneven engagement with the continent, it is imperative that it understands what happened to Africa. It must also play a part in the solution. A meaningful solution will require the goodwill and concerted efforts on the part of all those who share the weight of Africa's historical burden. Most members of my generation, who were born before Nigeria's independence, remember a time when things were very different. Nigeria was once a land of great hope and progress, a nation with immense resources at its disposal--natural resources, yes, but even more so, human resources. But the Biafran war changed the course of Nigeria. In my view it was a cataclysmic experience that changed the history of Africa. It is for the sake of the future of Nigeria, for our children and grandchildren, that I feel it is important to tell Nigeria's story, Biafra's story, our story, my story. Excerpted from There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Part 1 Pioneers of a New Frontierp. 7
The Magical Yearsp. 8
Primary Exposurep. 15
Leaving Homep. 17
The Formative Years at Umuahia and Ibadanp. 19
The Umuahia Experiencep. 21
The Ibadan Experiencep. 28
Meeting Christie and Her Familyp. 30
Discovering Things Fall Apartp. 33
A Lucky Generationp. 39
The March to Independencep. 40
The Cradle of Nigerian Nationalismp. 43
Post-Independence Nigeriap. 48
The Declinep. 51
The Role of the Writer in Africap. 52
1966 (poem)p. 62
January 15, 1966, Coupp. 63
The Dark Daysp. 65
Benin Road (poem)p. 73
A History of Ethnic Tension and Resentmentp. 74
The Armyp. 78
Countercoup and Assassinationp. 80
The Pogromsp. 82
Penalty of Godhead (poem)p. 84
The Aburi Accordp. 85
Generation Gap (poem)p. 90
The Nightmare Beginsp. 91
Part 2 The Nigeria-Biafra Warp. 95
The Biafran Positionp. 95
The Nigerian Argumentp. 96
The Role of the Organization of African Unityp. 96
The Triangle Game: The UK, France, and the United Statesp. 99
The Writers and Intellectualsp. 105
The War and the Nigerian Intellectualp. 108
The Life and Work of Christopher Okigbop. 114
The Major Nigerian Actors in the Conflict: Ojukwu and Gowonp. 118
The Aristocratp. 118
The Gentleman Generalp. 120
The First Shot (poem)p. 127
The Biafran Invasion of the Mid-Westp. 128
Gowon Regroupsp. 132
The Asaba Massacrep. 133
Biafran Repercussionsp. 135
Blood, Blood, Everywherep. 136
The Calabar Massacrep. 137
Biafra, 1969 (poem)p. 141
The Republic of Biafrap. 143
The Intellectual Foundation of a New Nationp. 143
The Biafran Statep. 149
The Biafran Flagp. 151
The Biafran National Anthemp. 151
The Militaryp. 153
Ogbunigwep. 156
Biafran Tanksp. 157
A Tiger Joins the Armyp. 158
Freedom Fightersp. 159
Traveling on Behalf of Biafrap. 160
Refugee Mother and Child (A Mother in a Refugee Camp) (poem)p. 168
Life in Biafrap. 169
The Abagana Ambushp. 173
Air Raid (poem)p. 175
The Citadel Pressp. 176
The Ifeajuna Manuscriptp. 178
Staying Alivep. 179
Death of the Poet: "Daddy, Don't Let Him Die!"p. 183
Mango Seedling (poem)p. 186
Refugeesp. 188
We Laughed at Him (poem)p. 196
The Media Warp. 199
Narrow Escapesp. 200
Vultures (poem)p. 204
Part 3 The Fight to the Finishp. 209
The Economic Blockade and Starvationp. 209
The Silence of the United Nationsp. 211
Azikiwe Withdraws Support for Biafrap. 215
The Recapture of Owerrip. 217
Biafra Takes an Oil Rig: "The Kwale Incident"p. 218
1970 and The Fallp. 222
The Question of Genocidep. 228
The Argumentsp. 229
The Case Against the Nigerian Governmentp. 233
Gowon Respondsp. 236
Part 4 Nigeria's Painful Transitions: A Reappraisalp. 243
Corruption and Indisciplinep. 249
State Failure and the Rise of Terrorismp. 250
State Resuscitation and Recoveryp. 251
After a War (poem)p. 254
Postscript: The Example of Nelson Mandelap. 257
Appendix: Brigadier Banjo's Broadcast to Mid-Westp. 259
Notesp. 267
Indexp. 321