A Moonless, Starless Sky
In the tradition of Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Nothing to Envy, this is a masterful, humane work of literary journalism by New Yorker staff writer Alexis Okeowo--a vivid narrative of Africans, many of them women, who are courageously resisting their continent's wave of fundamentalism.In A Moonless, Starless Sky Okeowo weaves together four narratives that form a powerful tapestry of modern Africa: a young couple, kidnap victims of Joseph Kony's LRA; a Mauritanian waging a lonely campaign against modern-day slavery; a women's basketball team flourishing amid war-torn Somalia; and a vigilante who takes up arms against the extremist group Boko Haram. This debut book by one of America's most acclaimed young journalists illuminates the inner lives of ordinary people doing the extraordinary--lives that are too often hidden, underreported, or ignored by the rest of the world.

A Moonless, Starless Sky Details

TitleA Moonless, Starless Sky
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139780316382939
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Cultural, Africa, Politics, History

A Moonless, Starless Sky Review

  • Lynecia
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars. *Review below*I was so absorbed by the personal stories of some of the people in Alexis Okeowo’s book, that more than once, I almost missed my stop on the subway whilst reading it. Her subjects traverse the continent -- Uganda in the East, Nigeria to the West; northward to Mauritania and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. Okeowo is a seasoned journalist, having moved to Uganda straight out of college to intern for a newspaper for a year - and she’s focused her beat on the continent ever s 2.5 stars. *Review below*I was so absorbed by the personal stories of some of the people in Alexis Okeowo’s book, that more than once, I almost missed my stop on the subway whilst reading it. Her subjects traverse the continent -- Uganda in the East, Nigeria to the West; northward to Mauritania and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. Okeowo is a seasoned journalist, having moved to Uganda straight out of college to intern for a newspaper for a year - and she’s focused her beat on the continent ever since. The people she follows in her book are living through atrocities that most of us have learned about through the Western media - The LRA, (remember “Kony 2012”?), the Boko Haram kidnappings (#BringBackOurGirls), al-Shabbab (see: recent terror attacks in Mogadishu) and Arab enslavement of Black Africans in the deserts of the Sahel and Northern Africa. (I’d venture to say the West is less familiar with this scourge, but I digress. I recommend watching a 2009 Australian documentary called “Stolen”, if you can find it, for more on slavery in that part of the world). Her stated aim is to highlight the everyday ways that people living under religious extremism, terror and oppression choose to fight back, to resist, in ordinary ways. Okeowo was able to take those aforementioned atrocities, that have again, been filtered through the Western gaze and allowed the personal stories of the people who lived through them take center stage.While I enjoyed the stories, and some of the backstory she provided, I wish she spent more time crafting the narrative structure of the book. It seemed to jump around alot, and there were points that didn’t seem to gel, but seemed to be thrown in for narrative effect. (view spoiler)[ For example I also feel like a couple of these instances didn’t represent ordinary resistance. A young Somali girl who plays basketball, in the face of threats by the extremists on her life. That’s ordinary resistance, but in a couple of the stories her subjects were highly organized activists, who ran for political office. Again, nothing wrong with reading about their stories, but they didn’t fit the hypothesis. And lastly, the story of Eunice and Bosco from Uganda, didn’t apply at all. Yes, they chose to stay together after being forced together in the bush, but the author notes that those kind of unions, though frowned upon were not unique. And given the circumstances, the ostracization former LRA members faced coming home, the love story that the author tried to frame it as, seemed more like co-dependence. (hide spoiler)]Each piece on its own could have been a longform article - each of them moving and compelling. However compiled in a book, they don’t really fit with her central thesis of ordinary resistance in the face of terror. However, the stories are still worthy of being told. I’d recommend reading this just for those.
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  • Sara-Jayne
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful, eye opening collection of stories. This nonfiction book from Alexis Okeowo was impossible to put down. She effortlessly weaves together stories from four different countries in modern day Africa (Uganda, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Somalia), detailing atrocious experiences with frankness, simplicity, and above all humanity. She showcases the courage and resilience of everyday people, painting a picture of countries we usually only hear about through a very imperialistic lens. My o What a beautiful, eye opening collection of stories. This nonfiction book from Alexis Okeowo was impossible to put down. She effortlessly weaves together stories from four different countries in modern day Africa (Uganda, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Somalia), detailing atrocious experiences with frankness, simplicity, and above all humanity. She showcases the courage and resilience of everyday people, painting a picture of countries we usually only hear about through a very imperialistic lens. My own perception of Africa as a whole was radically challenged, and I'm positive that yours will be too. I found the set up of the book interesting and quite effective; part one details the first half of each story, ending on a cliffhanger, while part two picks up where each left off and concludes on a hopeful note. The subject matter is, of course, heavy (child soldiers, rape, military coups, slavery, Boko Haram, etc.), but Okeowo's style reflects her years as a successful journalist for the New Yorker; she does not linger on the gory details for sensationalism, but does her best to present an honest peek into the lives of African men and women from all around the continent.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    There were two quotes from the preface that set the tone for this book perfectly:They are not only activists and vigilantes, but also ordinary people. I became interested in subtler forms of resistance, ways of fighting that are not easy to notice. Preserving your way of life amid extreme situations is also a vital struggle. -That is the thing about fighting extremism—each victory, tiny and large, can feel monumental. In this book, Alexis Okeowo frames the picture of resistance through this unde There were two quotes from the preface that set the tone for this book perfectly:They are not only activists and vigilantes, but also ordinary people. I became interested in subtler forms of resistance, ways of fighting that are not easy to notice. Preserving your way of life amid extreme situations is also a vital struggle. -That is the thing about fighting extremism—each victory, tiny and large, can feel monumental. In this book, Alexis Okeowo frames the picture of resistance through this understanding in a manner that made each story relatable despite its extreme differences from the life I live. Many of the stories recount moments of incredible strength and resilience. On the flip side, so much of what they're fighting for, risking their lives for, and striving towards are ordinary and what many in the United States may see as a right. This is a large part of why I think the stories here really struck me: they were a reminder of the many privileges I have simply because of where and when I was born, a sentiment Okeowo herself acknowledges and shares. All in all, this is a read that explores how despite the progress we have (and haven't) seen in recent years, there's still so much further to go. There's definitely some points that I had to read and reread and then reread again because of how much information was provided to the reader. However, given the complications present in the political climates these men and women live in, that detail is completely understandable. I enjoyed it and would recommend, especially as a means of understanding a whole different view of the world than you may usually have. This book was a strong reminder for me of the privilege I have and motivated me to try to use that privilege to benefit those who aren't as lucky as I have been.
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  • Krystal
    January 1, 1970
    The comparison to Katherine Boo's, Behind the Beautiful Forevers made me weary, but I can wholeheartedly confirm that this author's compassion for her characters far surpasses that book!
  • Dayle (the literary llama)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars, although it was easy to round up in this case. An absolutely amazing non-fiction book. Full review coming soon. (This book was provided free to me from Hachette Books in exchange for an honest review)
  • Ifeyinwa
    January 1, 1970
    Gathering my thoughts on how to articulate why this book disappointed me.
  • Jill Dobbe
    January 1, 1970
    An exceptional and well written book about people fighting for basic human rights in four distinct African countries. The four compelling stories included in this book are the accounts of what the author experienced while living and working in Uganda, Nigeria, Mauritania, and Somalia. The stories and experiences are well researched, real, honest, and eye-opening. I found each story I read more remarkable and shocking than the previous ones. The author brings to light what regular people have hav An exceptional and well written book about people fighting for basic human rights in four distinct African countries. The four compelling stories included in this book are the accounts of what the author experienced while living and working in Uganda, Nigeria, Mauritania, and Somalia. The stories and experiences are well researched, real, honest, and eye-opening. I found each story I read more remarkable and shocking than the previous ones. The author brings to light what regular people have have had to endure during the conflicts in these countries. Each tale and account of the inhumane atrocities that the Africans live with are rarely heard about in the U.S. and I thank the author for writing this book and for shedding light on the brave men and women who are fighting to bring an end to the brutal practices that exist in these African countries.Thank you to Netgalley and publishers of A Moonless, Starless Sky.
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  • Alison
    January 1, 1970
    One really gets a feeling for what it is like to lose ones freedom and dreams. The Author, who was born in the USA but of Nigerian parents, decided she wanted to go back to her families roots and take a fellowship with Princeton-in-Africa. This book is a result of her time there and it is about ordinary people standing up to extremism in Africa. While reporting in Different countries in Africa, she tells us about the different conflicts that have taken place and some that are ongoing, these stor One really gets a feeling for what it is like to lose ones freedom and dreams. The Author, who was born in the USA but of Nigerian parents, decided she wanted to go back to her families roots and take a fellowship with Princeton-in-Africa. This book is a result of her time there and it is about ordinary people standing up to extremism in Africa. While reporting in Different countries in Africa, she tells us about the different conflicts that have taken place and some that are ongoing, these stories beside the facts that she gives us, describe the conflicts through the voices of ordinary people and what they went through.We hear from abolitionists fighting to free Mauritania's slaves, from young people kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army trained, to kill rape and torture, to stay alive themselves. From the struggle to just be able to play women's basketball in Somalia, without fearing death threats. To the Boko Haram Kidnapping, of Dozens of Girls.This book, with a history of the conflicts, and through some of the people who went through them, was a very educational read and made the stories very relatable.I would like to thank NetGalley and Hachette Books for the ARC
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to love this book. A book about Africa, written by a first-generation Nigerian American and told from the perspective of ordinary people instead of bureaucrats and international aid workers? Sign me up.The stories themselves are compelling: an LRA child soldier and the girl who was forced to marry him, who choose to stay together after they are free; one man's campaign against modern-day slavery in Mauritania; a girls basketball team that continues to play despite threats to thei I really wanted to love this book. A book about Africa, written by a first-generation Nigerian American and told from the perspective of ordinary people instead of bureaucrats and international aid workers? Sign me up.The stories themselves are compelling: an LRA child soldier and the girl who was forced to marry him, who choose to stay together after they are free; one man's campaign against modern-day slavery in Mauritania; a girls basketball team that continues to play despite threats to their lives from Muslim extremists; a vigilante group fighting Boko Haram. Unfortunately, Okeowo's writing is not. Whereas other works of journalistic nonfiction I have read (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, and Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, for example) brought some fire to the subject matter without sacrificing fact-based reporting, Okeowo is cool and clinical where more than a little passion is warranted and needed. For example, there was one point when she met with a bureaucrat to discuss the girls basketball team and why they had not been able to travel outside of Somalia for games. When the official was evasive with his answers, she said she grew "bored" with him and turned to something else. Bored? Not frustrated or angry, just bored? Others may find this lack of emotion "journalistic" and "unbiased"; for me it undermined Okeowo's efforts to connect readers with the real lives of real people. Finally, I found the structure of the book somewhat frustrating. Each story is broken into two parts, so you read the first half of each story in part 1, and the second half in part 2. There was no logical or thematic reason why they needed to be split like this, and I found myself forgetting people and events by the time I reached part two. I would recommend reading each story in full (from part 1 and 2) before moving onto the next.
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  • Amy Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely a story everyone should read. The tales of the four individuals in this book are stories of bravery, each of them taking a stand for what they believe in often at tremendous risk to themselves. It is quite scary to read the events that have occurred and are still occurring in Africa. This is a book that will really make you think about your own freedoms and how you should not take them for granted.
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  • Alexis (hookedtobooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much to @hachettebooks for sending me this book! I absolutely loved it!The book is a work of non fiction by Alexis Okeowo, who went to Africa and met all these interesting people fighting extremism in Africa. The book follows four different events: a couple in Uganda who were kidnapping victims of Joseph Kony's LRA, a man in Mauritania fighting to abolish slavery in his country, two people in Nigeria affected by Boko Haram, and a young woman playing basketball in Somalia, even thoug Thank you so much to @hachettebooks for sending me this book! I absolutely loved it!The book is a work of non fiction by Alexis Okeowo, who went to Africa and met all these interesting people fighting extremism in Africa. The book follows four different events: a couple in Uganda who were kidnapping victims of Joseph Kony's LRA, a man in Mauritania fighting to abolish slavery in his country, two people in Nigeria affected by Boko Haram, and a young woman playing basketball in Somalia, even though her life is threatened. Reading about how these people have fought for justice in their own country, and their terrible experiences is a real eye-opener into how little we know of what goes on in Africa and how little the media covers it. Okeowo writes in a beautiful and descriptive way so that the ready is along for an intense ride! I was completely hooked from the preface, as Okeowo writes, "The four stories in A Moonless, Starless Sky all deal, in some way, with extremism within Christianity and Islam. But there are many types of extremism, in the spheres of gender and sexuality, nationalism, and race." She then goes on to describe the importance of keeping in mind that the men and women fighting back are doing so within their own religion, for their own beliefs. I highly recommend this book!
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  • Amirah Jiwa
    January 1, 1970
    A collection of beautifully vivid stories that manage to captivate without losing any of the context and nuance essential to reporting like this. Okeowo doesn't fall victim to any of the common pitfalls when discussing religious extremism or conflict: no poverty porn, no casting her subjects as pitiful and their situations as devastating, no ignoring all the shades of gray to paint a black-and-white picture of what's right or wrong, good or evil. Most importantly, this book does what it set out A collection of beautifully vivid stories that manage to captivate without losing any of the context and nuance essential to reporting like this. Okeowo doesn't fall victim to any of the common pitfalls when discussing religious extremism or conflict: no poverty porn, no casting her subjects as pitiful and their situations as devastating, no ignoring all the shades of gray to paint a black-and-white picture of what's right or wrong, good or evil. Most importantly, this book does what it set out to do: highlight the (extra-)ordinary people that are fighting extremism with great courage and optimism (though they might not see it that way themselves). Tears pricked my eyes at moments, but the cause was never a sad thing described. Rather, it was always a powerful action taken or set of words spoken by someone who has hope for a better future that moved me.
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  • Margaret Sankey
    January 1, 1970
    Okeowo, the child of Nigerian immigrants to Montgomery, AL, has been immersed in African politics as a Princeton Africa Fellow and journalist. This work is a vivid compilation of four extraordinary situations, arranged around the theme of individual action against extremism--a personal campaign against slavery, personal redemption from a coerced life as a child soldier, finding team belonging in a women's basketball league and violent resistance to Boko Haram. This is journalistic--which is not Okeowo, the child of Nigerian immigrants to Montgomery, AL, has been immersed in African politics as a Princeton Africa Fellow and journalist. This work is a vivid compilation of four extraordinary situations, arranged around the theme of individual action against extremism--a personal campaign against slavery, personal redemption from a coerced life as a child soldier, finding team belonging in a women's basketball league and violent resistance to Boko Haram. This is journalistic--which is not a negative--but a reader unfamiliar with the systemic problems addressed here will need to do background reading, and will come away deeply moved, but left to make the leap to possible responses.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    Painful, eye-opening, and thankfully hopeful. It puts our everyday woes in perspective, and sheds light on stories we tend to overlook in the news. Glad to have lucked into this book as an ARC.
  • Shirleen R
    January 1, 1970
    Proper review - TBA5/5 In A Moonless, Starless Sky , reporter Alexis Okweowo includes no maps. No glossary, no footnotes. The only numbers you'll find are years in which events took place. This is not a textbook, because Africans are not amorphous, collective statistics. Okweowo crafted this book in a deliberate fashion that foregrounds the voices of her subjects - Eunice, Bosco, Biram, Elder, Aisha - and their specific home African countries - Nigeria, Mauritania, Uganda, Somalia. Each subject Proper review - TBA5/5 In A Moonless, Starless Sky , reporter Alexis Okweowo includes no maps. No glossary, no footnotes. The only numbers you'll find are years in which events took place. This is not a textbook, because Africans are not amorphous, collective statistics. Okweowo crafted this book in a deliberate fashion that foregrounds the voices of her subjects - Eunice, Bosco, Biram, Elder, Aisha - and their specific home African countries - Nigeria, Mauritania, Uganda, Somalia. Each subject survived the religious extremists who invaded their communities with guns, violence, assault, and chaos, and disrupted their lives -- enslavement, death threats, kidnapping and captivity, rape and forced child soldier killing. In Biram's modern slavery abolition chapters, the slavery practice precede him by centuries, his fight is against centuries of White Moors who enslave he and his people the Haratin.Okweowo uses a personable touch to recount these stories, in the words of these survivors whenever possible. With a deft, economic touch, she layers their lives with context -- the national histories, religious laws, ethnic or tribal conflicts, and political legacies and conflicts which shape what their narratives imply. When U.S. news reports these stories that Okeowo tells, the talking heads drown us in statistics and death and suffering African collective. Truth is, we do not hear about African lives until they've died in large numbers due to suicide bombings, disease, refugee camp neglect. That is, if U.S. and Western countries report these stories at all. The way Okeowo s reports on ordinary African lives is what makes this book vital reading. Stories include a Nigerian girl a who escapes Boko Haram and suffers survivor guilt. A Somalian teenage girl who endures death threats because she plays basketball, the unlikely romance between an Ugandan husband, former child soldier boy, and a Ugandan wife, his former hostage and rape survivor, and the children of that rape which the wife choose to rear with him, together as a married couple. Also vital: Okeowo writes about counseling, lack of psychotherapy, rehabilitation centers, tribal reconciliation customs part of her subject's process to adapt to life in the 'after'. Further, she discloses how her journalist subjects stories impact her. The sleepless nights, the disorientation (she was in Nigeria in spring 2014, when Boko Haram kidnapped 300 girls). Crucial and distinct to Okeowo's account: she shares anecdotes of happier, peaceful days and celebratory nights. The night is not always 'starless' in these African countries. She's a self-desribed. repat, born to Nigerian parents and raised from childhood in Alabama, she requires an interpreter in her interviews, and yet, she writes with an ease that suggests her identity as both African and African-American enables her to forge empathetic ties, where outsiders to the continent may possess blindspots about the PTSD, social stigma, community exile her African interviewees may suffer or risk, to participate in these stories that became New Yorker feature articles, eventually, and this book in our hands today. A beautiful credit to 6 years of intrepid, insistent, sensitive reporting. Well done
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    Okeowo's stories about extremism and survival in four African countries are both heartbreaking and inspirational. The last narrative, about women's basketball in Somalia starkly reminded me, as cliche as it sounds, how much we take for granted in the US. I grew up playing basketball in the cul-de-sac by my friend's house. The women and girls in this narrative get death threats by phone and are even nearly abducted by al-Shabaab militants for daring to play basketball in Somalia. One female baske Okeowo's stories about extremism and survival in four African countries are both heartbreaking and inspirational. The last narrative, about women's basketball in Somalia starkly reminded me, as cliche as it sounds, how much we take for granted in the US. I grew up playing basketball in the cul-de-sac by my friend's house. The women and girls in this narrative get death threats by phone and are even nearly abducted by al-Shabaab militants for daring to play basketball in Somalia. One female basketball player in the narrative is actually killed. In Uganda, young boys are kidnapped and forced to commit atrocities for the Lord's Resistance Army, then young girls are kidnapped and forced to be their wives. If they manage to escape the LRA, the horrible things they were forced to do to survive stay with them and make their chances for a normal life after returning home slim. In Mauritania, slavery is still alive and well, and slavery is inherited from mother to child. The Initiative for Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) helps free slaves and prosecute slave-owners. The Mauritanian Haratin, lower class people with a history of being slaves, are still in the long process of fighting for equality. And in Nigeria, the Boko Haram, an extremist group against Western education and for jihad, are similarly abducting young boys and girls for their armies and as sex slaves. A vigilante Civilian Joint Task Force is formed to aid the insufficient army in capturing suspected Boko Haram members. Most of the people in these narratives fighting Christian and Islam extremism in these countries are themselves devout Christians or Muslims. This is summed up nicely in one paragraph of the last chapter: "And, like with Aisha, the calls soon started. Unfamiliar, menacing voices telling her to stop playing. They called all the time... They told her she wouldn't go to heaven [for playing basketball]. "That's funny," she said to one. "You guys are killing people and you think you're going to heaven?" I will never understand religious extremism, especially when there is so much scripture encouraging kindness. These narratives capture the horrors that ordinary people experience at the hands of extremism, and what they are trying to do to prevent it.As much inspiration as there is, it's also distressing. How can we, as humans, end extremism? How to we combat the things that cause young people to choose extremist ideals? It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.
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  • RaeAnna Rekemeyer
    January 1, 1970
    Okeowo is a first generation daughter of Nigerian immigrants. After college, she decided to experience Africa for herself. Currently, she is a staff writer at The New Yorker. A Moonless, Starless Sky is her debut book of literary journalism delving into experiences she had while living and working in Africa.Exploring the fight against extremism in Africa she focuses on the LRA in Uganda, modern day slavery in Mauritania, Boko Haram’s reign of terror in Nigeria, and religious terrorism in Somalia Okeowo is a first generation daughter of Nigerian immigrants. After college, she decided to experience Africa for herself. Currently, she is a staff writer at The New Yorker. A Moonless, Starless Sky is her debut book of literary journalism delving into experiences she had while living and working in Africa.Exploring the fight against extremism in Africa she focuses on the LRA in Uganda, modern day slavery in Mauritania, Boko Haram’s reign of terror in Nigeria, and religious terrorism in Somalia. Though briefly covered in international news, Okeowo brings a spotlight to these areas probing into the complexities of the real issues often brushed over and forgotten by the media. She manages to inform, entertain, and convey so much to the reader in a mere 256 pages. Exploring the bigger issues, she tells the stories of average individuals surviving, recovering, and acting as beacons of hope through their everyday bravery. A Moonless, Starless Sky is a must read. Okeowo writes with intensity and honesty about the issues, the people, and her experiences along the way. Shrouded in atrocity, human rights violations, terrorism, and more, she manages to have of humor and sarcasm. The book is so relatably human in it’s approach to such a heavy topic saturated in monstrosity. Okeowo’s words will haunt your thoughts long after the book has been closed.
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  • Nike L
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE this beautifully written book. Okeowo has a distinct voice. She's able to write in a way that does not shield you from the horror and deep suffering that her subjects experience, but rather than feel as if you're in the shoes of the subjects, you feel reminded of the many layers of protection that keep you safe in this world that have failed so many others. In casual language, we learn about how her subjects' lives were overturned, and despite the extreme nature of their circumstances, we I LOVE this beautifully written book. Okeowo has a distinct voice. She's able to write in a way that does not shield you from the horror and deep suffering that her subjects experience, but rather than feel as if you're in the shoes of the subjects, you feel reminded of the many layers of protection that keep you safe in this world that have failed so many others. In casual language, we learn about how her subjects' lives were overturned, and despite the extreme nature of their circumstances, we recognize that the distress of their lives are as commonplace to them as the minor inconveniences that we complain about in ours. Many authors would exploit the tragedies of these brave individuals to induce panic in their audiences, but Okeowo's art is in her ability to dampen the panic, and force us to recognize our good fortune.Okeowo captures the resolve of her subjects in a way that elicits solemn respect, admiration and empathy. You walk away from this book with a sense of gratitude. Gratitude that you have been afforded the life that you have and that there are people out there who are stronger than you who are fighting for the same.
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  • R Z
    January 1, 1970
    Okeowo tells four narratives in this— the first 'half' in part one, and the latter half in part two of all four. This formatting, for me, is what detracted a star from my rating. (I'm sure she thought about thematic intention in doing it this way, and maybe I just couldn't figure it out.) This is difficult for me to review, otherwise. How do you review (pick apart, decide which you enjoy 'best') to people's real situations, that they have lived through and, in telling their stories, putting who Okeowo tells four narratives in this— the first 'half' in part one, and the latter half in part two of all four. This formatting, for me, is what detracted a star from my rating. (I'm sure she thought about thematic intention in doing it this way, and maybe I just couldn't figure it out.) This is difficult for me to review, otherwise. How do you review (pick apart, decide which you enjoy 'best') to people's real situations, that they have lived through and, in telling their stories, putting who they are out there for the world to see. All I will say is that, in a different way for each, they are powerful— the human element is undeniable, and though Okeowo tends to lose it at some points, the stories themselves are dependent on their emotional impact to those who experienced it, and it cannot be truly and fully lost.
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  • Tristan Reed
    January 1, 1970
    This is a spectacular book. I have worked in Africa for about 10 years and have been reading about it since even earlier, and I can say it is rare to find journalism about the continent this good. Okeowo delves deep into four conflicts--in Nigeria, Somalia, Mauritania and Uganda--that you rarely get to read about beyond simple headlines. She covers the politics vividly, in a way not done really since Kapucsinski, But where the book really soars are the intimate, relatable character portraits. Sh This is a spectacular book. I have worked in Africa for about 10 years and have been reading about it since even earlier, and I can say it is rare to find journalism about the continent this good. Okeowo delves deep into four conflicts--in Nigeria, Somalia, Mauritania and Uganda--that you rarely get to read about beyond simple headlines. She covers the politics vividly, in a way not done really since Kapucsinski, But where the book really soars are the intimate, relatable character portraits. She describes regular people, fighting against horror, and you feel you can begin to grasp what it is like to be in their place. Africa may now be "rising," so the papers say, but there is still a lot wrong that every day people have to deal with. This book will help you understand. Highly recommended!
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  • Amanda Mae
    January 1, 1970
    It was fascinating to read these stories - my exposure to various conflicts in African countries is terribly limited, so this was an approach I get a lot out of. Reading stories and experiences of real people who have lived through and survived the extremism and terror that we Americans can only imagine is a sobering thing, and educated me as well on more intricacies on the issues I might only know of in broad terms. Would make a great book club discussion title, and excellent for a survey cours It was fascinating to read these stories - my exposure to various conflicts in African countries is terribly limited, so this was an approach I get a lot out of. Reading stories and experiences of real people who have lived through and survived the extremism and terror that we Americans can only imagine is a sobering thing, and educated me as well on more intricacies on the issues I might only know of in broad terms. Would make a great book club discussion title, and excellent for a survey course on any of the issues tackled in the book.
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  • Roxanne
    January 1, 1970
    This is a Goodreads win review. This is a very powerful book. This author tells us about a subject I know very little about Africa. She tells the stories of men and women fighting extremism in Africa. The author spent 5 years to get these stories. Africa seems like a dangerous place to be now. These men and women are fighting kidnappers, modern day slavery, and a girl who escapes Boko Haram. We would not know these stories without this book.
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  • Nora Rawn
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful reporting with incredible empathy. Just wish it had been longer!
  • Kimberlee
    January 1, 1970
    Alexis brings to light so many issues that some of us (including myself) had no idea about. The fact that all this is so recent and still going on is mind boggling to me. Incredibly detailed and thoughtful. A true eye opener and a must read.
  • Nazish
    January 1, 1970
    Okeowo follows four lives as they navigate their way through tumultuous environments, where communities are fighting and lives are being torn apart. Though some events were frustrating and heartbreaking to read about, they were also encouraging and enlightening — because life must go on and you must make the best of it.Moving to Nigeria in order to properly research, Okeowo’s journalistic perspective put together a beautiful collection of stories highlighting seemingly ordinary lives.
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