From Publishers Weekly
The daunting emotional challenge of living up to an almost mythically famous parent is the subject of Wiwa's brutally candid memoir, which explores his psychological tug-of-war with his father, Nigerian writer and human rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa. Asking "My father. Where does he end and where do I begin?" Wiwa recalls his troubled childhood growing up in the shadow of a world-renowned man who simultaneously took on a powerful military regime and the mighty Shell Oil conglomerate, only to be executed by the Nigerian dictatorship in November 1995. Writing this book, according to Wiwa, who is now a journalist in Canada, was an attempt to understand the complex bond between his father and himself, a relationship so difficult at times that it compelled him to legally change his name. Resentful at his father's mood swings, absences and infidelities, he was angry at being pressured to continue the older Wiwa's work and legacy until he fully reassessed the man's untiring fight against tyranny. Wiwa's impassioned and detailed memoir provides a superb overview of the Nigerian political landscape, as well as an excellent behind-the-scenes look at his father. In addition to his own story, the concluding segments about other children of prominent human rights heroes Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko and Bogoyoke Aung San are revealing and informative. Agents, Bruce Westwood, Westwood Creative Artists, and Derek Johns, AP Watt. (Sept. 1) Forecast: This book is almost certain to attract media attention, given the international celebrity of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the irresistible family angle. Its eloquence promises a wide readership among those who care about international human rights and those who love family memoirs.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Wiwa's complex memoir is both an account of the history, corruption, and politics of modern Nigeria and an inquiring biography of his father, Ken Saro-Wiwa. Saro-Wiwa was a renowned human rights activist and vibrant critic of the Nigerian military dictatorship who was instrumental in publicizing the environmental and human rights abuses of the Shell Oil Company. His 1995 execution by the Nigerian military regime made him an international martyr and a symbol for the Nigerian opposition. While detailing his childhood and his strained relationship with his controversial father, Wiwa vividly portrays the struggle between a traditional way of life in Nigeria and multinational corporate interests. He shows how, in his worldwide appeal for justice for his father, he was able to come to terms with his father's life and execution. This insightful, clearly written work is recommended for those interested in African society and politics, the dangers of environmental pollution by multinational corporations in developing countries, and human rights abuses throughout the world. Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Lib., Gulf Coast
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.