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The Trouble with Nigeria (Heinemann African Writers Series) Paperback – 30 Apr 1984

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Paperback, 30 Apr 1984

Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann; 1 edition (30 April 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0435906984
  • ISBN-13: 978-9966467805
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.1 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 913,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Peter Roberts on 14 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
Although the book is relatively old (published 1983) it continues to be distressingly relevant to the actual Nigeria. Military dictators have disappeared (again) and been replaced by democratically-elected presidents (again), but this has had little effect on the basic problems identified by this book. The author says things that only a Nigerian could get away with - and says them well, as you would expect of Achebe.

It is essential reading for anyone who is planning to work in Nigeria and more so for anyone planning to do any business there. This book makes everything a lot more understandable and thus manageable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Skelton on 5 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
Achebe moves away from his 'factional' accounts of post-colonial Nigeria and has written a thought provoking and accurate account of Nigeria & it's issues today - although of course it wasn't written today; it was written in 1983 but all the issues & failures he highlights are just as relevant in 2008. A short, but soberng and informative little book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
an important diatribe 24 Oct. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a good little book about Nigeria's problems written by a Nigerian for Nigerians. The edition I read was one of the smallest books I've ever seen - even smaller than some of those Noam Chomsky Real Story tracts - which makes sense since it was published in Nigeria for readers who might not be able to afford paying $8.50 for a book. Therefore the reader should keep in mind the audience this book is aimed at: Achebe is writing to Nigerians about how they can clean up their country. He is not writing a serious book about the current troubles of Nigeria and how they can be solved on an international as well as domestic front: the lack of the words 'Shell Corporation' is conspicuous throughout the book.
That being said, this is a good way for a non-Nigerian to see how Nigeria's problems are perceived internally. Achebe is strong in his condemnation of tribalism, indiscipline and especially corruption and the prejudice agains the Igbo people. While condeming most current (this was written in 1983) politicians, he does praise the famous Aminu Kano and other politicians like Bola Ige, Bisi Onabanjo and Ernest Ikoli for putting the nation's interest first, not their own. Achebe looks forward to a time when such politicians would lead Nigerians, not divide them or waste their money needlessly.
Unfortunately, good leadership is not the only answer to Nigeria's problems. Nonetheless, this is still a worthy read.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This should be required reading... 5 Aug. 2000
By Michael E. Evans - Published on
Format: Paperback
I first bought this book from a dusty bin in The Metropolitan Hotel in Calabar, Nigeria. I was there on a thirteen day missions trip during the bloody reign of Babangida and I had already experienced, first hand, the trouble with Nigeria. Achebe had been a favorite author since I read Things Fall Apart during my college days, but with this reading he became more than an author -- he became a friend and guide.
In 63 insightful pages he has written a manifesto for the recovery of people of African descent world-wide, of which I am one. He talks about the need for leadership, the scar of tribalism, and a variety of social ills that, as he puts it, Nigerians have relegated to small talk and I am sad to say African Americans have turned into comedy.
This is a must read for people of African descent and anyone else who would like to understand and help. Just recently, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing the daughter of former Nigerian President Elect Abiola. Her father died while imprisoned a few years ago. Now a congresswoman herself, she has high hopes for Nigeria, but sees similar social ills here in American and agreed that Achebe's views are accurate and needful.
The trouble with Nigeria and African America is that not enough people have read and applied the principles discussed in The Trouble with Nigeria.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Denis Benchimol Minev - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Achebe, the great writer from Nigeria (author of THings Fall Apart and others), provides a passionate and smart analysis of the real problems preventing development in Nigeria.

This book is a bit political and local, meaning that if you don't know the characters you will not get about 10% of the book. He cites examples and tells stories that are clearly very familiar to locals, but not to outsiders. Such writing makes me believe that the audience aimed is in fact Nigerians rather than outsiders.

However, there are important lessons from outsiders, which are condensed into the less than 100 pages of this small book. Issues such as corruption and disrespect for laws are addressed from a very different standpoint than usual economists would. The ideas and concepts from this book are applicable to other countries facing difficulties reaching high standards of living. I, for one, wish someone had written such a book on Brazil. It is a quick read, worth your 2 hours.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Another well written book by Achebe. 13 Feb. 2006
By Thomas H. Livermore - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book, for me, was an eye opener to the problems in Nigeria. Chinua Achebe talks about how the main problem in Nigeria is the leadership. He did a really good job of proving that the real problem was the failure in leadership. He talked about indiscipline, tribalism, social injustice, and corruption. Even though he talked about the problems of the leadership, he still mentioned and commended Aminu Kano for not being selfish, like most of the leaders, and putting the nation's interests before his own. This book gave me a view, from a Nigerian's perspective, about the real problems in Nigeria.

I think people should definitely consider reading this book. It is a quick read (only 63 pages) and it is very influential. Along with being short, it is for the most part easy to follow and it gives a lot of details, facts, and his opinions of what is going wrong in Nigeria. The only thing I didn't like about this book was some parts in the last chapter when Achebe almost went too much in detail. In the beginning it was really interesting to me, but in the last chapter, the information and facts were harder to soak in. Even though I didn't like parts of the last chapter, I still recommend this book and I think that it is worth it to read it.

Compared to Things Fall Apart, this book is a lot shorter and is a little bit denser. They are both quick reads, and I think if Nigeria interests you, then it is worth it to read both of them. All of the books that I have read by Achebe so far have impressed me, and I think that he is not only an influential writer, but his writing is also fun to read.
Achebe's Frustrations and Hopes on a Tasking Nigeria 25 Jan. 2014
By Chris Emeka - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Achebe's final book "There was a Country" drew a firestorm of reactions from Nigerians who were mostly acting on tribal impulses - even when a good number of them had not actually read the book. But decades earlier, in this pamphlet, Achebe had laid bare the undiluted truth as well as the palpable hopes he entertained that Nigeria will come of age and outgrow her juvenile delinquencies - will survive and outgrow her delinquent, insatiable and debauched leaders.

Almost every page in this concise book is packed with "quotable quotes". Very cutting. Achebe did not spare Awolowo or even the great Zik of Africa in pointing fingers at those who played roles in fermenting the troubles. He also rightly clamps down on meddlesome and ubiquitous Obasanjo among many others - high and low.

As was stated in the introduction, Nigerians' small talk is often centered around the trouble with Nigeria, so the title of the book also pokes at Nigerians. Nigerians know all about the trouble but still cannot figure out a solution and Achebe tried to sketch a route past the troubles. But alas, it is no casual "trouble", it is a deeply-seated neurosis.

The sad reality is that even over 3 decades later not much has changed in Nigeria - if anything it has changed for the worse in some ways - despite the passing of leadership from the illegitimate military rulers to elected civilians. Nigeria's ruling class treat the country as an all-you-can-eat buffet while unconnected citizens are viewed as destitute serfs outside the gates.
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