...I bought this book after reading reviews in The Economist and the Financial Times - not the sort of places you would imagine normally cover childhood memoirs. The reason is simple - it is much more than a chronicle of childhood. It is the story of Africa's slide into chaos and the people - the real people, not the anonymous victims we see on our televisions - whose lives are destroyed. Aminatta Forna's father, a medical doctor who entered politics and was one of the best of his generation, attempted to stand up to a dictator and sacrificed his own life. His daughter's childhood was sacrificed at the same time. But she meticulously and movingly writes them both back into life in a memoir which is defiant, harrowing and ultimately uplifting. It is a great story - and a universal one. It isn't really about Africa at all - although you will learn a great deal about that continent and its fate - it really is about inhumanity, humanity, courage and the quest for truth.