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My Nigeria: Five Decades of Independence Hardcover – 1 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (1 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023062023X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230620230
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 265,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Longtime British foreign correspondent Peter Cunliffe-Jones paints a vivid portrait of Nigeria's hydra-headed travails in this passionate, intensely personal book…My Nigeria cannot be bettered.' – The Washington Times
'...[My Nigeria] offers some challenging thinking about the nature of a country for which Cunliffe-Jones clearly feels great affection...Pleasingly he quotes Nigerians rather than foreign experts, and tackles religious tensions, oil wealth and woes, and the everyday problems of corruption...Cunliffe-Jones marshals his impressive knowledge of the country to seek out reasons for hope.' - TLS
'Peter Cunliffe-Jones, a veteran journalist, follows in the footsteps of his forefathers—a colonizer and an administrator—and serves up a must read for anybody looking to understand Africa's most dynamic country. In this empathetic, keenly-observed, multigenerational memoir, Cunliffe-Jones expertly lays out the challenges facing Nigeria as it approaches 50 years of independence and finds itself once again on the brink.' - Stephan Faris, author of Forecast

'Nigeria is a big subject, but Cunliffe-Jones cuts it down to size. Enriched by his own experience and his family's own role in the country's past, this vivid book is more than a history. It is like stumbling upon a time capsule.' - Robert Calderisi, author of The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working

'A very readable history of Nigeria, a personal memoire and a family history all in one book. Peter Cunliffe-Jones has produced a warm and enlightening introduction to this huge, dynamic and fascinating country and its damaged past. Intriguing and sometimes shocking it explains why Nigeria today is the frustrated giant of Africa.' - Richard Dowden, author of Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles

'This is an excellent, readable book both for those who think they know Nigeria and those who are just curious about the country.' - Father Matthew Kukah, Leading Nigerian commentator

'As Nigeria celebrates 50 years of independence this book aids the understanding of both the colonial legacy and the challenges facing the country. Written in a personal manner by a veteran journalist whose family have been deeply involved in Nigeria's history, this very readable account is a worthy addition to the corpus of post-colonial history books, and should be of interest to both historians and the general public.' - Dr Maggie Canvin, 
'An amazing book, it captures the essence of Nigeria brilliantly. It is the best work I have read on Nigeria.' - Adunola Abiola, daughter of the late M.K.O. Abiola.

'I found the book more than interesting, I found it inspirational. The story of the author's historical connections with Nigeria made it all the more riveting' - former Olympic athlete Kriss Akabusi

'Many thought provoking scenes … an important book ' - Nigerian Guardian 

'Mr. Cunliffe -Jones has produced a sweeping yet intimate portrait of his and his distinguished family's sojourn in Africa's most populous and complicated nation – Nigeria. It is a work that deserves widespread critical attention. A triumph!' -
Chinua Achebe, David and Marianna Fisher University Professor, Brown University, USA

Book Description

A fascinating tour of Africa's turbulent giant as it celebrates 50 years of independence

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fola Arthur-Worrey on 6 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a very contemporary, frank and informed analysis of a country that has continued to confound observers with its incredible resilience inspite of myriad political, economic, social, religious and ethnic challenges. The writer, perhaps because of his long links to the country, has been able, to a large degree, to come to grips with many of the reasons why the country continues to stumble: the complacency of the led, the selfishness of the elite and a leadership that is essentially a composite of these attitudes. Even I, as a Nigerian, was forced to re-interrogate some of my views by the author's incisive grasp of the character of the country. However, while it is true that the coming of the British and their forcing together of extremely diverse nations and cultures into one state has had its impact on what an independent Nigeria subsequently became, the decisions post-independence that led to the civil war and ultimately the blame for the recurring decimal of instability and state inefficiency must rest squarely at the doorstep of the ruling elite and the complicity of its people. It is brave writing, combining a measure of angst with a measure of almost cruel frankness and should make all Nigerians who read it sit up, look around them and accept that in some measure, large or small, we are all responsible for where we find ourselves today. The tragedy is that today, not enough of the educated classes read enough if at all. perhaps if one million literate Nigerians read this book, things might start to change.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Prof J E McLACHLAN on 15 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have again had excellent service from Amazon. Prompt and efficient delivery.
I appreciate this and this is why I regularly buy from Amazon. Well done.
A fascinating review and as I was in Nigeria from 1959 to 1967 and have followed the tragedy of the civil war, the oil revenues wasted and the corruption devastating a fascinating and attractive country, with a wonderful mix of attractive people, this book gives some answers to the questions which inevitably arise.
I just hope that Nigeria arises and shakes off its demons and becomes the African Giant it should be.
Jeff McLachlan
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D Burin on 13 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interspersing family history with telling interviews and personal insight into the condition of independent Nigeria, Peter Cunliffe-Jones has achieved here, a detailed and informative, but also intimate and enjoyable portrait of Africa's giant. On the personal side, Cunliffe-Jones tells the stories of his ancestral cousin, Edward Spenser-Burns, a well-travelled opportunist who visited Nigeria during his service acquiring Congolese territories for King Leopold's Belgium, and of the author's grandfather Sir Hugo Marshall, who was heavily involved with the drawing up of Nigeria's constitution for independence; a well-intentioned but misguided constitution, which he gradually developed strong misgivings about. In these family histories, there is a good level of detail, and it is fascinating to see such clear accounts of a Nigeria and Congo which naturally differ to the regions as they are today. Most importantly though, Cunliffe-Jones refuses to give their stories a sugar-coating because of their family connections, and thus his portraits are firm and fascinating depictions of two decent, but somewhat misinformed figures, who did more damage than good to the regions they were posted to.

The book flits between these tales, and Cunliffe-Jones' potted histories of Nigeria, as well as his own musings on the region, and interviews he conducted in Nigeria. Though he tackles each of these facets of the book, in an interesting and enjoyable manner; the threads of his narratives seem to clash a little too much, and the book sways rather too much between different stories, and issues at times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fred Adegeye on 27 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
It is a good book by someone who was outside the circle but who also lived inside the current system. Through his parentage (Grandfather) also had a hand in wobbly foundation of creating the Country call Nigeria. His comparison of Indonesia with Nigeria also energise us younger generation to see way forward.
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