The defining experience of Chinua Achebe's life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, which was infamous for its savage impact on his people. For more than forty years Achebe was silent on those terrible years, until he produced this towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful events. A marriage of history, remembrance, poetry and vivid first-hand observation, There Was a Country is a work of wisdom and compassion from one of the great voices of our age.
'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.' Nadine Gordimer
'Engrossing . . . an elegy from a master storyteller who has witnessed the undulating fortunes of a nation . . . his strongest expressions are his poems, scattered between chapters, offering affecting interludes.' Noo Saro-Wiwa, Guardian
'A blend of historical overview, personal memoir and political manifesto . . . fascinating - and horrifying.' John Preston, Evening Standard
'Achebe's moving account of the war is laced with anger, but there is also an abiding tone of regret for what Nigeria might have been.' Ian Critchley, Sunday Times