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The Up-Country Man
 
 

The Up-Country Man [Kindle Edition]

Kenneth C Ryeland
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

In April 1967, a young British engineer arrives in Nigeria to take up his new job. The country is seven years into a volatile independence and Ken Ryeland struggles to come to terms with the culture shock and the endemic tribalism that pervades every level of society. On being transferred to Enugu, capital of the troubled Eastern Region, he is further challenged when the Regional Military Government rebels against the Federal Military Government in Lagos. An act of secession quickly follows and the short-lived Republic of Biafra is born. Almost immediately the new republic is plunged into a bloody and bitter war of survival with the Lagos Government and Ryeland finds himself trapped in the rebel enclave as Federal troops close in for the kill.
The Up-Country Man is a personal account of the events leading to secession and conditions inside Biafra during the early days of the Nigerian civil war.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 813 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Ogun's Fire; 2 edition (16 Sep 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043RSEHC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #294,837 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

After 20 years living and working in Africa, the Far East and the Middle East, Ken Ryeland returned to the UK and occupied various senior engineering and research posts within the motor and insurance industries before retiring in 2004. He is a widower, has three grown children and likes gardening, writing, cross-country walking, classic British motorcycles and fine red wines.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Up-Country Man 24 Jun 2013
By SI
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An absolutely riveting book! The events in Biafra in the sixties seem like an age away, so this is real, living history. It all happened less than 50 years ago and is reliably and entertainingly recounted by the author who lived through it all. An excellent book if you were alive at the time and want an inside view of what was happening, or for younger people, who are bored by the safe, gap years of today's litigious culture and yearn for the days of real life and death adventure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight 7 Jan 2011
By TopCat
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My interest in the war in Nigeria was piqued some time ago when I read Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Being a child of the 70s it was something I knew virtually nothing about. Therefore when I came across this book I thought it would be really interesting to read a first-hand account. The author Kenneth Ryeland moved to Nigeria as a young man in 1967, working as an engineer. His company had played down reports of previous unrest and Ryeland planned to move his young family to the country to join him after the completion of his probation period.

The book intially details the culture shock experienced by the author and another young colleague upon their arrival, having to adjust to a new geography and culture. Ryeland is moved to a posting in Enugu amid rumours that secession will occur, and when it does he finds himself living in the new state of Biafra. The "police action" seriously disrupts life for the Europeans as well as for the rest of it's new citizens.

I found the book fascinating. I really liked the use of Pidgin English in the book as I felt it illustrated one of the most obvious difficulties the author must have faced on arriving in Nigeria and lent real flavour to the book. The story of Adam and Eve in Pidgin at the start really helped my understanding, so while I couldn't translate it I certainly got the gist. The story was so descriptive of the places and people, but without being unnecessarily wordy.

I can imagine some people might be uncomfortable with some of the portrayals of the white man as master and the locals as servants but it is illustrating how things really were at the time, is basically a historical account of events and it would be wrong to sanitise the book to appease people.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like being there... 23 Nov 2010
By B. Armstrong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I have to admit to a natural bias towards this book. I was a young man in Nigeria during the time the book is set and it brought back so many memories for me.

Ryeland captures the uncertainty of the build up to the Nigerian Civil War with mastery. His observations are incredibly detailed and perfectly illustrate the society to which I belonged as a child: the ex-patriot community. He truthfully depicts the lives of the Europeans resident in that young independent country and their attempts to try to help it get on its feet (while enjoying a life style we'd never have had "back home"). He observes how we remained outside of the mainstream African culture which fascinated, repelled and puzzled us in equal measure.

As another reviewer has mentioned, this is not a book for the PC brigade. Ryeland is no racist, but his portrayal of the sense of superiority that was instilled in the Europeans working and living out in the ex-colony is bound to offend some. I would advise people likely to be offended by that to simply appreciate those aspects for what they are, invaluable first-hand accounts of a particular moment in history, whose protagonists are now slowly disappearing off the world stage.

The book reads like a thriller. I found it difficult to stop myself starting another chapter as I finished each one... even when common sense said it was time for sleep. You really get drawn into this first person narrative and rapidly become keen to find out what happens to him, his friends and acquaintances as the political situation deteriorates.

As for his use of Pidgin English, I recognise that for some this might present a problem to the uninitiated, but if you persevere, it will become easier to understand and it is yet another element by which Ryeland allows you to put yourself into his predicament. As a fluent pidgin speaker myself, I found those dialogues really added to the atmosphere and to the authentic tone of the book.

If anyone is seeking to understand what it was like for a European to live in post-colonial Africa, under the threat of coup d'etats and civil wars, this book will offer you the chance to experience that life in great detail.

It has even given me a desire to finish my long abandoned novel about my own experiences in Nigeria as a child. I thoroughly recommend this book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review by Free Book Reviews 31 May 2011
By Albert Robbins III - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
The Up-Country Man

A word of warning to those who may find interest in reading this book, if you are easily offended by non political correctness then you may want to think twice. However, if you are like me and prefer the truth told to you undiluted then this will be an interesting read. This book gives a better understanding of the trials and tribulations of Nigeria through the eyes of a white male (harsh I know but again the truth). Knowing this was written from a non-native's perspective, I knew to discount the details as being colored in that direction. I still feel that this book does a great job of giving everyone a better understanding and in the least see what forced government can/will do.
Free Book Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice unbiased account on the war 10 Dec 2013
By AJIBOLA ROBINSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A really nice book! I think this gives as unbiased as possible and account of a foreigner doing and everyday job in Nigeria during the war, not that account to those involved but a person just caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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