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The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays Audio CD – Bargain Price, November 16, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Page's solid performance suits the tone of the essays." ---Library Journal Audio Review --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Chinua Achebe is a prominent Nigerian writer who is famous for his novels describing the effects of Western customs and values on traditional African society. Achebe's satire and his keen ear for spoken language have made him one of the most highly esteemed African writers in English. He has published novels, essay collections, poetry, short stories, and juvenile fiction. Among his works are Things Fall Apart, Anthills of the Savannah, A Man of the People, Arrow of God, and the notable collections Morning Yet on Creation Day and Hopes and Impediments. A recipient of the Man Booker International Prize, he is currently the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Michael Page has been recording audiobooks since 1984 and has over two hundred titles to his credit. He has won several AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for The War That Killed Achilles by Caroline Alexander and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. As a professional actor, Michael has performed regularly since 1998 with the Peterborough Players in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He is currently a professor of theater at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he lives with his wife, Jane, and two daughters, Camilla and Chloe (when they are not away at college). He has a particular interest in Shakespeare and Eastern European theater and travels frequently to Hungary and Romania.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media; Unabridged,MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (November 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400163773
  • ASIN: B007BWDUWU
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,417,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hande Z on November 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Does it matter, I ask myself, that centuries before these European Christians sailed down to us in ships to deliver the Gospel and save us from darkness, their ancestors, also sailing in ships, had delivered our forefathers to the horrendous transatlantic slave trade and unleashed darkness in our world?" Chinua Achebe, "The Education of a British Protected Child"

51 years ago Chinua Achebe wrote in "Things Fall Apart", "A child's fingers cannot be scalded by a piece of hot yam which its mother puts into its palm." In "The Education of a British Protected Child", Achebe revealed why that is so. Woven into a collection of 16 essays the author portrayed the essence Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular, to the world in general, and the English speaking west in particular. The themes and topics in this book were not new; some of the essays were revised pieces from his published oeuvre. His defence of English as the lingua franca of Nigeria despite his disdain for colonial rule is best appreciated in the context of the book as a whole. The snippets of life of oppressed Africans, impoverished Nigerians, his personal life growing up in Africa and studying abroad, the impact of Christianity on Africans all have a profound personal impact on this famous, sensitive (in the positive sense) son of Ogidi, Nigeria.

Some of his more famous criticisms of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" can be found in the chapter entitled "Africa's Tarnished Image".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Loves the View VINE VOICE on January 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I very rarely find essays satisfying, but since this was Achebe and it was a library check out, I went for it. I was hoping to learn more about this author and something of Nigeria. There were a few interesting moments such as Achebe's meeting Richard Wright and Langston Hughes, his views on Conrad, travel in Africa in the early 1960's and his impressions on high level literary or policy gatherings, but on the whole this book validates my feeling.

Achebe is a master in developing themes. The essay forces a point and doesn't have the space for layering ideas. Essays work for news events, but there is not enough space to develop a theme.

These pieces cover colonialism, images of Africans in print and the historical record, the rape of Africa after "independence", etc. The book is OK, but Achebe's views are better expressed in his books.

Later - The 5 star rating does not match my review. I meant to give this 3 stars. My finger must have slipped. It does not appear that this can be edited.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Farrell on December 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over my lengthy teaching career, I taught Chinua Achebe's novels THINGS FALL APART (1959) and NO LONGER AT EASE (1960) more often than I taught any other works of imaginative literature of comparable length. Consequently, when I read that Achebe had published a new short collection of essays, I hastened to order a copy of THE EDUCATION OF A BRITISH-PROTECTED CHILD: ESSAYS. As you might expect, I found some of the essays more interesting than others.

But I am writing this customer review to protest against Achebe's continuing charge against Conrad over alleged racist views in Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS. Achebe himself gives no evidence in the essays in this new collection - or anywhere else that I know of -- of having considered any counterarguments to his well-publicized arguments. So I propose to set forth here counterarguments for prospective readers of Achebe's new collection of essays to consider.

With respect to the passages in Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS that Achebe has selected to object to, I agree with him that the views expressed in the selected passages in the text can be characterized as racist. But I can think of less harsh terms to use to register the same criticism about the limited range of humanity expressed in certain statements.

But in the frame narrative in Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS, the views that Achebe has selected as expressing racist views are imputed in the text to Marlow. But Achebe imputes them to Conrad! But the views in question are not necessarily Conrad's!

Moreover, nowhere in the text is Marlow presented as an apotheosis of all that is good in human nature, as Beatrice is presented in Dante's PARADISO. Furthermore, nowhere does Conrad tell us to take everything Marlow says at face value.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Donelson on February 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu" should be repeated every hour on the hour by every school child all over the world until it becomes the mantra of all societies. It is Bantu for "A human is human because of other humans."

The simple but profound adage is the theme of Chinua Achebe's collection of essays, The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays. It may also be the theme of his life's work, judging by the simple message it conveys about the importance of the communal aspirations of the peoples of Africa. He uses it several times in various essays in the book, but really drives the point home in the concluding paragraph of the last one, titled "Africa Is People."

"Our humanity is contingent on the humanity of our fellows. No person or group can be human alone. We rise above the animal together, or not at all. If we learned that lesson even this late in the day, we would have taken a truly millennial step forward."

Achebe, winner of the Man Booker International Prize and best known as the author of Things Fall Apart, one of the seminal works of African fiction, has a subtle, dry voice that makes each of these seventeen essays something to savor and linger over. He makes his points about racial stereotypes, African development, history, and politics, and the African-American diaspora, sometimes with humor, sometimes with biting directness, but always graciously and without rancor. You sense Achebe knows that to rail against injustice is futile; change must come through education achieved one cogent argument at a time.

While Achebe is a scholar, he is also a master storyteller. More often than not, he makes his points not with dry logical argument but with an exegetical tale about someone he's met or something that's happened to him.
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