on 25 January 2010
I was inspired to buy this book after seeing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appear in a fascinating interview on Jon Stewart's Daily Show. In the book Sirleaf talks openly and frankly about both her own personal life experiences, recounting tales from her humble background to her privileged education in the United States and is not afraid to make bold statements or admit to instances where she feels she made an incorrect decision.
The work naturally centres on the harrowing events of Liberia's bloody civil war which lasted for many years, during which time she was imprisoned, and the subsequent brave role she played in bringing peace to the nation, eventually being voted in as President. Inevitably there are many tragic stories along the way, however, while not detracting from the grim realities facing Africa's first woman president the account remains both positive about the future and genuinely uplifting. If the term 'remarkable' is over-used then it certainly isn't in this instance, Sirleaf offers a real hope that this century will be kinder to her nation and to Africa. This is unlike any other political (auto)biography I have ever read and through this extraordinary woman offers a fascinating and honest view into a country and continent which we, perhaps to our detriment, know so little about.