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Unbowed: My Autobiography Paperback – 6 Mar 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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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 (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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)

"Renowned and admired throughout her native Kenya and across Africa for her pioneering struggle against deforestation and for women's rights and democracy, selfless and steadfast, Ms. Maathai has been a champion of the environment, of women, of Africa, and of anyone concerned about our future security" (Kofi Annan)

"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)

"Wangari Maathai is the rare leader who knows how to create independence, not dependence. On the page as in person, her example makes each of us a little stronger, wiser and braver than we ever thought we could be" (Gloria Steinem)

"Compelling. . . A striking reminder that the peace award, more than any other Nobel honor, recognizes success achieved through tremendous adversity" (The Seattle Times)

Book Description

The compelling autobiography of Wangari Maathai, Kenyan peace activist and environmentalist, who in 2004 became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book in 2 days - couldn't put it down.
As Bill Clinton puts it: 'Wangari Maathai's memoir is direct, honest, and beautifully written - gripping'.
The first few pages are a description of paradise lost. The rest of the book is the description of the fight to repossess that paradise. A fight we should all share in.
Very well-written. Simple and clear.
Ms Maathai has left us precious seeds we should tend to.
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