My First Coup d'Etat and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $25.00
  • Save: $4.63 (19%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Book is lightly used with little or no noticeable damage. Unbeatable customer service, and we usually ship the same or next day. Over one million satisfied customers!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

My First Coup d'Etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa Hardcover – July 3, 2012


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$20.37
$2.72 $0.01

Frequently Bought Together

My First Coup d'Etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa + Bright Lights, No City: An African Adventure on Bad Roads with a Brother and a Very Weird Business Plan
Price for both: $30.37

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608198596
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608198597
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A graceful memoir and striking literary debut…A collection of remarkable vignettes that blend a historian’s sensibility with a novelist’s prose, Mahama captures the evolution of that consciousness and, with it, glimpses of a nation’s recovered soul.”—Washington Post

“This is no typical political memoir. Rather it is the engaging story of a boy coming of age in the “lost decades” of military rule in Ghana that preceded multiparty democracy. Mahama tells it tenderly and well, weaving small slices of history and culture into a family narrative so rich in colour it at times feels like magical realism… Mahama has given us a useful reminder of the bad old days yet the real value of his book lies in its depiction of ordinary life in a time of turmoil – and of how people adapt and carry on regardless.”—Financial Times 

"Mr. Mahama is at his best in describing this vanished world. He does so with the eye of a historian and the flair of a novelist…At times the lost world he describes seems almost magical, as if it were populated by fairies and demons rather than real people… His stories  overflow with humanity."—Wall Street Journal

"With crisp yet sweeping prose, John Mahama’s memoir, My First Coup d’Etat, provides insights into Ghana’s, and by extension, Africa’s struggle to weather its historical burden and engage with a world much removed from her dilemma. Without sentimentality or condescension, he exposes homegrown African pathologies and helps us understand several contradictions of our postcolonial condition. His is a much welcome work of immense relevance to African studies and deserves serious critical attention." —Chinua Achebe

"These stories reminded me of Isaac Bashevis Singer, whose memories of a vanished world feel half like memoir and half like fairy tale. Readers will be charmed by them. They brim with humanity." —Andrew Solomon, author of the National Book Award–winning The Noonday Demon
 
"Eloquent."—Newsweek

My First Coup d’Etat shows an uncommon literary ambition . . . His elegant memoir of those crucible decades lets us see the times that forged his generation as more than just a succession of defaults and dictators.” —newrepublic.com
 
"Affecting and revealing…Ghanaian readers might see this memoir by a current officeholder as a political instrument; others will mainly enjoy the well-crafted anecdotes and images of an Africa that no longer exists." —Foreign Affairs

"Mahama’s stories lure the reader into an unforgettable journey in which he interacts with history as a living tissue. The characters and the episodes are part of the everyday but one imbued with magic and suggestive power that go beyond the concrete and the palpable to hint at history in motion." —Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, author of Weep Not, Child

"Warm and engaging. The view of a complex world in microcosm." —Aminatta Forna, author of the Commonwealth Book Prize–winning The Memory of Love

"In fluid, unpretentious style, Mahama unspools Ghana’s recent history via entertaining and enlightening personal anecdotes."—Publishers Weekly

"Sensitive, honest autobiographical essays… A wonderfully intimate look at the convulsive changes, and deep scarring, in post-colonial Africa."—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

John Dramani Mahama is a writer, historian, journalist, former member of Parliament and minister of state, and sitting president of the Republic of Ghana. This is his first book. He lives in Accra with his family and is currently at work on his second book.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
13
4 star
7
3 star
0
2 star
2
1 star
0
See all 22 customer reviews
The author writes extremely well too and makes the story very personal to the reader.
Dina Tanners
A very well written account of Ghana's recent history, beginning with the post-independence era in Ghana, brought to life through the author's life story.
Nsykkyn
Makes you have a better understanding of what people had to endure to come this far in the Ghanaian society.
Ann-Platinum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine Ahearn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a compelling, coming-of-age story of the life of John Dramani Mahama, from childhood to adult. A heartfelt story of 'lost decades' in Africa, his father sent to prison, and an intimate and personal portrait. At age seven, he suffered from fear, despair, and longing. In addition, he reveals truths on faith, the cost of loss, and survival. Entertaining throughout as it tugs on the heartstrings. Beautifully written, inspiring, and Highly Recommended!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nykky on August 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was thoroughly enthralled by this book. I know little about Africa, so picked this book up to get some introduction to the contemporary state of affairs through the eyes of an African. This is far better than any political memoir, with his lovely stories of his childhood, from his grandmother's mud hut, to days of Michael Jackson, the precious public school system of Ghana, his revelation about village gods, his first love, the vicissitudes of his loving father's fortunes with the political pendulum, the evolution of his young views on socialism vs. capitalism. The book is so well-structured around key ideas for each chapter, even as it brings us from early post-colonial times to the present. There is no self-aggrandizement in this lovely memoir, as is often the case with politician biographies. Instead, it is a wonderful introduction to a vast landscape through a very personal, perceptive lens. The author's prose is gentle and precise, bringing all to life with the minimum words. Other reviews describe the book as "brimming with humanity," and it is true. I am amazed that such a thoughtful person like this could handle a life of politics and am intrigued to follow Ghana's progress, now that John Dramani has succeeded the President in a peaceful transition. I highly recommend this book. (Minus one star only because I wish it was longer!)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Queen Margo on August 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get an insight into life in Africa. Although the book is focused on Ghana, the post-independence era was similar in many countries on the continent, with the military taking over power from legally elected heads of state and corruption reigning supreme.

Mahama grew up in the era when Africans could only hope for democracy, but as he says things have begun to change for the better in the past year or so.

Although he was born in a privileged family, fortune kept changing for Mahama's family and we follow him from his childhood and his first coup d'etat, which sent his father - a government minister - to jail until the present time when Ghana is stable and relatively prosperous. The book is written with warmth and ease that make it accessible to any reader. Sometimes it's so suspenseful that it is hard to put down. Mahama describes even the most difficult experiences of his life with directness and optimism, avoiding harsh accusations as well as gloom and doom.

Memories of his childhood and youth are particularly heart-warming. A reader will get a profound insight into African life in villages as well as cities and understand how the modern interacts with old traditions. Mahama is intelligent and compassionate. Ghana is lucky to have him at its helm.

One of the most compelling books I've red in recent times.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ann-Platinum on March 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gives you the chance to learn Ghana's history post independence. Makes you have a better understanding of what people had to endure to come this far in the Ghanaian society. Learn more about the post colonial struggle as the colonial influence has had a major influence on our society economically, socially and psychologically. It's still a struggle but some of us still have the believe that Africa will rise (and is already rising) past its 'dark' turbulent days.

Personally enjoyed this book because it was not just a general historical account. It was a journey through the mind of the author and an intimate conversation of his life growing up as a Ghanaian post Independence.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dina Tanners on December 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing story, written by the current president of Ghana. He was vice-president when it was published. John Dramani Mahama was born just a short time after Ghana became independent. The stories tell of major happenings in Mahama's childhood and youth that shaped him and many other young Africans of that era. The author writes extremely well too and makes the story very personal to the reader.

It is honest, straight-forward,very thoughtful and thought provoking, at times chilling, and a very good way to get a picture of what has shaped the people of Ghana. It should be compulsory reading for a high school current affairs class.

The author has several strong messages to all readers too, including one in the last chapter stating that "everything exists as a continuation of something else," so one cannot erase a troubling event from ones life but needs to recognize it as having been linked to all that happened before and after.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nsykkyn on October 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very well written account of Ghana's recent history, beginning with the post-independence era in Ghana, brought to life through the author's life story. Even as a Nigerian, much younger than the Dramani Mahama, I could appreciate his experiences. I found his stories entertaining, at times familiar, due to the similarities between our two countries. I particularly recall living through "Ghana-must-go" as a child, primarily through the experience of an uncle in Lagos, who was publicly harrassed by police at the bus stop for "looking Ghanaian".

Dramani Mahama is able to abstract valuable lessons from his own experiences, while clearly communicating a very uniquely West African story, and sharing a concise version Ghana's recent history. His accounts of the post-independence years, full of hope, are similar to firsthand accounts from my own relatives, but he shares his perspective without their sense of spite or anguish over missed opportunities. Rather, his reflective account challenges us to learn from even the darkest bits of our past, rather than tuck them away in shame.

Dramani shies away from the fingerpointing and/or ethnic biases I have come to expect from some West African writers of his generation when they attempt to explain the lost years and failed economic and social experiments of the 70s and 80s. He doesn't claim to know all the answers. Instead, he engages the reader with the story of his own growth and transformation, alongside that of the young nation of Ghana, whose at times turbulent emergence is not just the backdrop to his story, but provides context to a lot of the decisions, opportunities (or lack thereof), and questions that shaped the destiny of the author and his family. Overall, I was very impressed by this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews