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A Man of the People (Penguin Modern Classics) by [Achebe, Chinua]
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A Man of the People (Penguin Modern Classics) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Length: 162 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'A bitter yet funny satire... probably the best book to come out of West Africa.' Anthony Burgess "The Founding Father of the African novel in English" - The Guardian

About the Author

Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. He was raised in the large village of Ogidi, one of the first centers of Anglican missionary work in Eastern Nigeria, and graduated from University College, Ibadan. His early career in radio ended abruptly in 1966, when he left his post as Director of External Broadcasting in Nigeria during the national upheaval that led to the Biafran War. Achebe joined the Biafran Ministry of Information and represented Biafra on various diplomatic and fund-raising missions. He was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and began lecturing widely abroad. For over fifteen years, he was the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. He was Professor at the David and Marianna Fisher University and Professor of Africana studies at Brown University. Chinua Achebe wrote over twenty books - novels, short stories, essays and collections of poetry - and received numerous honours from around the world, including the Honourary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as honourary doctorates from more than thirty colleges and universities. He was also the recipient of Nigeria's highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction. Chinua Achebe died in 2013.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 471 KB
  • Print Length: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (25 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C7EGVA0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #283,987 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Growing up in Nigeria, I had to read Chinua Achebe's books as part of the literature curriculum. At the time, I found his works to be mildly interesting; I did not think that they were arresting enough to merit further study. How wrong I was!

A Man of the People novel is set in Nigeria in the 1960's. The country had just gained independence from Great Britain, and elected its first post-colonial government, which is run by the proverbial `Big Men'. One of such `Big Men' is Chief the Honourable M. A. Nanga. Chief Nanga is not just any ordinary government hack; he is a charismatic, gifted politician who has a way with the people - and especially with the ladies. He is part of an entrenched, corrupt coterie that enrich themselves while in office, blatantly rig elections and silence opposition without recourse to law. Yet, Chief Nanga is loved by his constituents for his largesse, as he doles out the spoils of office to `his people'.

Enter Odili Samalu, a young well-educated, idealist. Odili, a former pupil of Chief Nanga's, is favoured by the Chief. Nanga invites Odili to the big city, where Odili spends time in Nanga's sumptuous home, is introduced into high society and generally has a jolly good time. Yes, Odili our austere idealist enjoys the high life that his relationship with Nanga offers him. However, Odili and Nanga quarrel over a woman and Odili determines to run against Nanga in the upcoming elections.

Achebe uses the ensuing David and Goliath contest to satirise the crass corruption of Nigeria's ruling elite. Whether using private militias to silence (or kill) political opponents or awarding inflated government contracts to themselves, Nigeria's government, personified in Chief Nanga, give corruption a new meaning, with the acquiescence of the people.
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Format: Paperback
"A Man of the People" is an excellent book. It is set in the 1960s, just after Nigeria had been granted independence from Britain.
It follows the young, idealistic Mr Odili, a former student of Chief Nanga, MA, who has become a leading politician under a brutal Nigerian regime. Achebe's novel follows Odili as he uncovers corruption and attempts to take on his former master, Nanga, by forming his own party and challenging for a place in government.
"A Man of the People" is a very witty book, full of clever swipes at political systems (which can be related not just to African but the whole world) and is very intelligently written. Most of all, the ending will probably stay with the reader for a very long time.
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This is a great book and a perfect introduction to the writing of Achebe if you are unaccustomed to him. It is not written too simply (something I have been known to criticise the writer for), and is full of wit and has an almost allegorical sub-text. Although set in the 1960s, the beauty of this book (paradoxically)is that it is virtually timeless insofar as the notion/persona of the 'big man' (personified here as Chief Nanga) and the corruption and havoc that these types wreak on Africa is still sadly with us today. However without ruining the plot, what I particularly like is that it shows what can happen when these people are confronted. Highly recommended.
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I have bought this again because it is one of those book's you lend out and never get back, but I must have a copy on my shelf for re-reading. If you are seeking an extraordinary read, filled to the brim with culture, beautifully written, if you are seeking something wildly off the beaten track, that oozes longevity from beginning to end, if you aspire to write and wish to learn from a master, if you have the highest of literary tastes and standards, really, Chinua Achebe is The Man, and this is one of my favourite books to have come from his genius pen. Simply brilliant.
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Achebe's `AMOTP' is a side-swipe at careerist politicians. It contrasts M.A. Nanga, a populist politician, with the political aspirations of Odili, a former protégé of Nanga's who attempts to get involved in politics without getting involved in the financial and sexual corruption he witnesses in other politicians, and while maintaining the pure ideology he set out to espouse. Nanga is something of a local hero in Odili's home town, but the more Odili sees of Nanga's lifestyle, the more he becomes disillusioned with the man he once idolised. However, Odili also desires the consumer goods and beautiful women that Nanga's power attracts, and the ease with which they are available proves difficult to resist. By the end, Odili has been drawn into life as a careerist politician, and the contrast between himself and Nanga isn't as great as he would have liked.

`AMOTP' is a timeless tale concerning the uses and abuses of democracy, and what can happen to the `men of the people' elected to represent us. Although the story is set in Africa, it is just as relevant to other cultures. The sexual and financial shenanigans of our own politicians are reflected in Nanga's behaviour, and the gradual erosion of Odili's idealism is also all too familiar. Achebe tells his story with wit and an easy writing style that made `AMOTP' a pleasure to read. An excellent political satire, and well worth reading.
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