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Unbowed: My Autobiography Paperback – 6 Mar 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (6 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099493098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099493099
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Wangari Maathai's Memoir is direct. Honest, and beautifully written - a gripping account of modern Africa's trials and triumphs, a universal story of courage, persistence, and success against great odds in a noble cause.' -- Bill Clinton

`As this inspiring memoir shows Maathai's work is about a lot more than getting women to plant trees ... The more difficulties Maathai faced, the more determined she became ... Her book wonderfully demonstrates that you don't need to be in a position of power to start doing something about your environment.' -- The Sunday Times

`Maathai's book is frank and moving ... like a Nelson Mandela or a Mahatma Gandhi, Maathai stands way above most mortals.'
-- The Guardian

From the Back Cover

'Wangari Maathai is a prophet for our time and Unbowed is a call to arms for all of us who feel that the planet is overwhelmed by careless, corrupt or violent leadership. I have long suspected that the voice to lead us forward would come out of Africa, and it has - a voice of humor, sense, strength and compassion. Read this book and pass it on.' Alexandra Fuller

In Unbowed, we are in the presence of a hugely charismatic yet humble woman whose remarkable story carries with it an inspiring message of hope. Hers is an extraordinary story, spanning different worlds and changing times, and revealing what the courage, determination, tenacity and humour of one good woman can achieve; how as small a thing as planting a seedling and watering it can made all the difference in the world.

'Inspirational... The more difficulties Maathai faced, the more determined she became... Her book wonderfully demonstrates that you don't need to be in a position of power to start doing something about your environment.' The Sunday Times

'Maathai's book is frank and moving... Like a Nelson Mandela or a Mahatma Gandhi, Maathai stands way above most mortals'. Guardian


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. E. Chukwumerije on 23 May 2008
Format: Paperback
Wangari Maathai was born in 1940 in rural Kenya and went on to become the first woman from Eastern and Central Africa to gain a PhD in 1971. Over 30 years later, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her "contribution to sustainable development, human rights and peace".

In her own words, Maathai tells the story of her journey from rural Kenya, through the ivory tower and on to the murky waters of Kenyan politics during the oppresive regime of Daniel Arap Moi. There are detailed accounts of how her conservation group (the Green Belt Movement) was born and rose to prominence, and the many times she had to face brutal government repression as she stood up for the environment and human rights. In her life and her musings, the delicate links connecting the environment, poverty and human dignity are shown clearly to the reader. This is also a very human story. Maathai recounts many details of her personal struggles- discrimination at work, the bitterness of a public divorce, losing her job because of power politics, struggling with a bare existence, the fight to give her children a good life, regardless.

All these elements combine to make this book an inspiring story, reminding one of what one is capable of if persistence is added to a sincere commitment to professed values.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe on 5 April 2007
Format: Hardcover
When Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, questions were raised regarding her choice by the Nobel Committee. Why should an environmentalist receive a prize that was identified with peace and human rights, voiced the critics. Reading Maathai's memoir sets the record straight, and justifying her selection for the award. In this fascinating and very personal account, she paints a vivid picture of her life, embedded in the realities of Kenya before and since independence. Her experiences during the Moi regime, in particular, demonstrate the challenges a young educated woman confronted in the face of traditional prejudice as well as political oppression.

Raised in rural Kenya, Wangari Maathai never lost the deep connection with the land and its the natural beauty. Over the years, she noticed the changes and the increasing fragility of the environment. Trees for her became a symbol and a tool for protecting the vulnerable ecosystem and assisting rural population to stem the growing poverty.

Thanks to the intervention of her older brother and the support of her mother, she was able to attend school beyond the primary level, which was all girls at the time could reach for. As luck had it and, being a bright student, her convent school was one of those selected to send graduates to the US under what became known as the Kennedy Airlift: a program to send young Africans to American colleges for further education. These young people were being primed to become future leaders of their societies in the soon to be independent African states. Maathai returned to Kenya with a Master's degree in biology, a subject that for her combined her scientific interests with her deep love for her natural environment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Thomas Senese - Author. on 27 Sep 2006
Format: Hardcover
Professor Wangari Maathai is truly one of the most important voices of our time. This dynamic and indefatigable Kikuyu woman of Kenya has illuminated rays of light through the dark clouds of Kenya, and so Africa. Standing in the face of oppression and unbearable adversity she faced when Kenya was not a land of freedom, but a state of oppression and discord, it was Wangari's resilient voice, her never-ending effort to stand strong in the winds of injustice, and her ceaseless love of mankind that has in many ways begun the great changes toward democracy and freedom for all individuals not just in Kenya, but in Africa. As the Cold War has, as Professor Maathai clearly and carefully points out, changed the dynamics of government in Africa, the reader becomes aware, in a different way than what is typically presented in the press, of the many issues involved with the challenges that the world faces through the daily experiences of those who seek `Freedom'. Clearly, as the world becomes closer and more connected, the issues that continue in Africa are critical issues that we, as a progressive society, must not simply acknowledge, but do something about. Acting on what is right . . . standing up for your beliefs . . . standing down oppression and hatred . . . and nurturing Mother Earth as she continues to nurture and provide for all, are themes this visionary African woman - who is the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize - shares with the world in her brilliantly written life story. Readers across the world - men and women of all colors and creeds and beliefs will tap into the determination of this extraordinary activist who has taught so many about how love of each other can grow through respecting and nurturing the land we live on.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mb Tuset Lopez on 5 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback
A life that has been lived with dignity and passion. This woman is an example to follow by other generations. The book has been written in a very clear and simple way. The author has transmitted her passion for nature. I recommend this book
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