We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra | [Chinua Achebe]

There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra

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. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than 40 years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful events.
Regular Price:$27.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

From the legendary author of Things Fall Apart comes a long-awaited 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 40 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, both as 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 40 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.

"1966", "Benin Road", "Penalty of Godhead", "Generation Gap", "Biafra, 1969", "A Mother in a Refugee Camp", "The First Shot", "Air Raid", "Mango Seedling", "We Laughed at Him", "Vultures", and "After a War" from Collected Poems by Chinua Achebe. Copyright 1971, 1973, 2004 by Chinua Achebe. Used by permission of Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc. and The Wylie Agency, LLC.

©2012 Chinua Achebe (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (15 )
5 star
 (2)
4 star
 (7)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
3.8 (13 )
5 star
 (4)
4 star
 (5)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Story
3.4 (14 )
5 star
 (4)
4 star
 (3)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    OLUCHUKWU United States 11-28-12
    OLUCHUKWU United States 11-28-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Audible Edition Is a Disaster"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Mr. Akinnuoye-Agbaje, a non-Igbo speaker who simply happens to be of Nigerian-descent, manages to mispronounce every Igbo word in the book, making it a particularly painful experience to listen to his reading. It wouldn't have required much to learn how to pronounce these words properly, without which their meanings are lost. I'll be exploring the possibility of getting my money back. There's no imaginable reason why an Igbo speaker could not have been recruited to read this book for Audible. That this was not the case is simply inexcusable.


    What didn’t you like about Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s performance?

    His pronunciation of Igbo words are embarrassingly silly, to put it mildly.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I own both the British and American hardback editions, so, of course, i think the book is brilliant. But I could not suffer through the very first few minutes of the reader's performance.


    Any additional comments?

    Audible should withdraw this disaster, and have a native speaker of Achebe's language read the book.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    taiye CLARKSBURG, MD, United States 11-09-12
    taiye CLARKSBURG, MD, United States 11-09-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book for every Nigerian"
    Would you consider the audio edition of There Was a Country to be better than the print version?

    As a young Nigerian with a lot of questions why the country had depleted culturally and economically to the level which we find ourselves today, this book exposes some very important facts in history that helps one comprehend where things went southward, it would also probably help we the future/ unborn generations identify this thorns and avert it repeating itself in future.

    Geat Book!!!!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Chris Okigbo


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maureen USA 01-04-14
    Maureen USA 01-04-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very informative entertaining story!"
    What did you love best about There Was a Country?

    I loved the level of detail of the book while maintaining its ease of reading.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    N/A


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator seemed not to be well-prepared to handle this novel. He pronounced every single name of person and place, but for one or two, inaccurately. Even the author's name wrong. Both times. Unfortunately, this takes away from the quality of the performance for those who have heard the names before, and is misleading for those who haven't.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    What country will there be?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ex-Patty Santiago, Chile 10-20-13
    Ex-Patty Santiago, Chile 10-20-13

    New Englander Living in Latin America

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful, Moving Experience"
    Would you listen to There Was a Country again? Why?

    I would listen again simply to be bathed in the beautiful narrative voice of Adewale Akinnoye-Agbaje.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was obviously the author, Chinua Achebe.


    What does Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I loved the rich voice of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje with his Beautiful African accent. It made me feel like Mr. Achebe was personally telling me the story. It made it a much stronger experience than simply reading the words.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The overall experience of listening to this account of the history of Biafra and Nigeria was moving in itself. Chinua Achebe's style of writing in the verbal history tradition was perfectly executed. As much as I love to read, the Audio version was a much more memorable, touching experience.


    Any additional comments?

    1) When the narrator has the accent of the writer, it makes the experience of listening seem as if the author is telling you the story personally. The choice of Adewale was perfect: beautiful voice and beautiful pronunciation.2) I'd like to know how my husband (Native Russian speaker, fluent in Spanish) and I (native US speaker and also fluent in Spanish) can participate in reading books for Amazon Audio.Bravo! This was my first audio book and you've completely hooked me!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada 11-19-12
    Timothy Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada 11-19-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting, but maybe biased?"

    I remember hearing about the tragic Biafran war many years ago, but have never had the opportunity to hear how it unfolded in any detail. This account, excellently narrated, tells one side of the story from the perspective of a highly respected author (rightly so). I found myself, however, wondering about how successful Achebe has been at distancing himself from a particular point of view and evaluation of events. Not that it is possible, or even desirable, to achieve complete detachment. But I was left with a sense that what I had heard needed to be supplemented by other voices and other perspectives.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.