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Little Liberia: An African Odyssey in New York City Paperback – 5 Jan 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099524228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099524229
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 834,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Jonny Steinberg has come to define South African narrative non-fiction; now, in Little Liberia, he applies his prodigious talents globally. He is at the height of his powers, singular in his ability to tell a big story through vivid detail and unforgettable characters. He has one of the sharpest intellects of his generation; here he proves, once more, that he is also a masterful storyteller." (Mark Gevisser)

"Extraordinary, stylistically varied mix of reportage, history and biography, which is revealing about the author as well as about his subjects, and about the vagaries of memory and motive... Maps, photographs, notes, a list of further reading, as well as a thorough index, all provide useful support for his skilled and compassionate chronicle" (Margaret Busby Guardian)

"Steinberg has produced a juicy cocktail of reportage, biography and history that's compelling, shocking and totally engaging. It's storytelling at its expansive best... What appears on the surface to be a history of Liberia turns out to be a compelling story of memory, exile and loss: themes we can all relate to" (Yolanda Zappaterra Time Out)

"Extraordinary, stylistically varied mix of reportage, history and biography... A skilled, compassionate chronicle" (Margaret Busby Guardian)

"Brave, strong blend of history, biography and reportage" (Sunday Business Post)

Book Description

A powerful and revelatory account of the Liberian civil war and its human cost, following the lives of two men, from Monrovia to the east coast of America, and back.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Immigrants from a country are often seen as the same - identified by their nationality and shared heritage and not by their individual experiences and scars. This author shows how our past experiences shape us. A fabulous story ans sociological observation - all in one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this book. I lived in Liberia for two years in the late '70s and this book explained the unique history of this West African country, some of which I knew, but other aspects were new to me. My Dad was an adventurous accountant and moved us all over there when he got a job there - luckily during a period of stability. The descriptive passages of Monrovia bought back lots of memories for me.

The story is told from the perspective of two men who left their homeland of Liberia for the relative safety of New York. The men reminisce, through a series of conversations with the author, about their experiences of Liberia. One of the protagonists, remarkably, survived the civil war after spending time embedded deep in the military infrastructure of BOTH SIDES giving him a unique view of the war.
There are eye-witness accounts of some of the most notorious episodes of the war, including the church massacre and the drug-fuelled battle for the bridge to Bushrod Island. Some of this is hard to read, but it is a riveting tale told with intelligence and compassion.

The latter part of the book takes a look at the optimism brought by the new government of Liberia, led by the continent's first woman President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Interestingly the President used to be Minister of Justice in the old pre-civil war government and once signed a warrant to arrest my Dad..!!!

The whole book is well written, factually accurate, and captures the characteristics of the Liberian people - good and bad.

Highly recommended...
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Format: Hardcover
This is a really well written, informative and vivid book. He really succeeds in getting inside his characters' heads, which I think is very difficult for a non-fiction writer to do well. At times, it almost feels like reading a novel. I knew a lot about Liberia before I read it, but I think this is written in such a way that it would appeal to people who know little about West Africa. He has really done a great job. Strongly recommended.
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