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Anthills of the Savannah [Hardcover]

Chinua Achebe
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Sept. 21 1987 --  
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Book Description

Sept. 21 1987
Achebe writes about the political and social problems facing newly independent African states.

Anthills of the Savannah
transports the reader to the West African country of Kangan, a fictional Nigeria, in the wake of a revolutionary coup that overthrew a dictator. Achebe discusses the strict balance of power that must be maintained in order to sustain a democracy, and the fine the line that is tread between leader and dictator.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

"This bitterly ironic novel by the Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart is at times more of a polemic than dramatic narrative, but it presents a candid, trenchantly insightful view of contemporary Africa," wrote PW of the portrait of a West African military coup leader, and his moral deterioration.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Achebe has written a story that sidesteps both ideologies of the African experience and political agendas, in order to lead us to a deeply human universal wisdom."
The Washington Post Book World

"[Anthills of the Savannah] has wonderful satiric moments and resounds with big African laughter."
The New York Review of Books

"Achebe moves effortlessly … creating a flurry of perspectives from which his story's dramatic and disturbing events are scrutinized. Anthills of the Savannah … will prove hard to forget. It's a vision of social change that strikes us with the foce of prophecy."
USA Today

"This bitterly ironic novel by the Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart is at times more of a polemic than dramatic narrative, but it presents a candid, trenchantly insightful view of contemporary Africa."
Publisher's Weekly --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This splendid short novel demonstrates Achebe's continuing ability to depict the challenges posed to African societies by modernism and Western influence. It details the plight of three educated, upper-class Africans attempting to survive in an atmosphere of political oppression and cultural confusion. Set in the fictional African country of Kangan, it is clearly patterned after Achebe's native Nigeria, though one can also see elements of Liberia and Ghana.
This was the first Achebe novel I had read since his classic Things Fall Apart. At first, I thought that Anthills suffered in comparison with that masterpiece, arguably the best known and most influential African novel. After finishing the book, though, I realized that Achebe had very deftly returned to and updated the themes raised in that book.
His protagonists are Ikem, a courageous and opinionated newspaper editor; Chris, his friend and predecessor as editor, now the somewhat-reluctant Commissioner of Information in a military-led government; and Beatrice, a brilliant, beautiful mid-level civil servant, also Chris's lover. Each studied abroad and is comfortable tossing off literary references and cultural cues from the West. At the same time, each is proud of and clearly shaped by his/her African heritage.
Kangan is ruled by a smart but narrow-minded military officer who rose to power following a coup. "His Excellency" is also coincidentally and not at all implausibly an acquaintance of all three main characters, bringing a very personal dynamic to the struggles they face as Ikem sharpens his already bitter criticism of the government, to the professional discomfort of Chris and the personal alarm of Beatrice.
I found the first half of the book a little hard to get through at times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars where is my country today? Oct. 11 2001
Format:Paperback
Achebe wrote three classic books in the 1950's and then after a long hiatus returned to the novel with the publication of Anthills in 89. The earlier books dealt with the effect of modern civilization on traditional African life. This book uses one nation as an example of what is happening with many nations as they struggle to find their own version of modern life without altogether letting go of tradition. The characters are all educated, many in the west, but strictly western modes of rule do not work in third world conditions quite as smoothly as they do in industrial conditons. Big changes are needed and a big leader is needed to effect those changes quickly and successfully but that age old maxim applies here as elsewhere: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. A great book showing how good intentions can quickly go wrong. Achebe tells the story through the personalities playing a part in it and so you never feel he is making abstract points. He shows the human side of these dramas we so often see played out on the 6'o clock news. A touching and tragic book. Achebe is a fascinating person to see interviewed as well, perhaps the most articulate and insightful spokesman on modern Africa as it searches to find its shape.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Chinua Achebe has produced a masterpiece in "Anthills of the Savannah". Set in fictional Kangan, Achebe spins a highly intriguing tale of three men who grew up in school together but find themselves increasingly alienated from one another professionally when one of them (not the smartest but the smoothest) declares himself President in the aftermath of the overthrow of the civilian Kangan government. Conflict of conscience issues generated by moves by the would-be dictator to consolidate his power over his people threaten to destroy their friendship and loyalty. It is no longer the white man who is responsible for the grinding poverty of the masses but the revolutionary fighters whose corruption and lust for power undermines their cause. Achebe is also brilliant in his characterisation. Ikem and Chris are vividly drawn and full bodied personalities, as are Beatrice and Elewe. Even minor characters like Professor Okong who appears only in the novel remain sharply etched in one's mind long after they have disappeared from the scene. "Anthills of the Savannah" remind me a little of V S Naipaul's "Guerillas" but it is by far a superior work. A thrilling and highly engaging piece of work by a literary giant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece Jan. 17 2000
Format:Paperback
This is indeed a masterpiece by the grandmaster of the African novel.As usual Achebe brings his characters to life in an amazing way.The setting is a fictional African country and the main characters are three men who met in high school the seemingly seperate lives they lived until a point when fate joined them together again is indeed the tragedy of modern African states.You have the military men,the sychophants,Pseudo radical intellectuals and of course the endlessly suffering masses whom all groups profess to know their problem.It is indeed recommended reading for anybody remotely interested in not only African but Latin American politics.
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