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Far Away in the Sky: a Memoir of the Biafran Airlift Kindle Edition
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|Length: 332 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Dealing with a choice this excruciating is bad enough, but it doesn't end there. There's also the frustration, even anger, that pogrom survivors must face when people who have never walked in their shoes pontificate on how they (and by implication the victims who didn't survive) should have reacted while being hunted down for elimination.
Many ask: How could they have walked so meekly to their deaths? Why didn't they fight for their lives? Or: What made them think they had any chance against such powerful enemies? Couldn't they see that resistance was futile? It's easy for historians or anyone else (especially those who have never directly witnessed a pogrom, let alone come close to being at the receiving end of one) to hold facile debates from very safe, comfortable locations about pogrom victims.
David Koren does not default to this familiar trait in his book, Far Away in the Sky: A Memoir of the Biafran Airlift. Instead, he offers uncommon insight and empathy on the situation that faced the people of Nigeria's Eastern Region just before they tried to break away as the Republic of Biafra in 1967. This secession attempt came after two rounds of pogroms in which tens of thousands of eastern Nigerians were killed in 1966. It helps that Koren actually lived in the Eastern Region for three years before the Nigeria-Biafra War broke out in July 1967. As a Peace Corps volunteer teaching in a secondary school in the region, he had come to understand the place and its ethnic-majority Igbo people better than most Americans ever could.Read more ›
His book tells a fascinating story of all the players and circumstances that came together to create this relief effort and how it changed his life and the lives of so many others.
This story has relevance to many events happening today. I loved getting to know my brother better.
Koren takes a job offered by UNICEF (offered because of his previous experience in the East as a PCVolunteer) unloading planes at the Biafran runway at Uli, a section of highway that only operates after dark with a single radio beacon and with the lights turned on just as the plane lands so it will not be spotted and bombed by the Nigerian air force. Koren's role is to oversee unloading the planes as fast as possible so they can take off and do one or two more trips before daylight. He is working with the World Council of Churches and Roman Catholic Caritas bringing in food aid because Biafra is surrounded and the people are starving. Other planes from other locations are bringing in weapons, etc.Read more ›
While I realize that the number of potential buyers who actually witnessed the birth of this short lived nation is very small and is diminishing almost daily, it is still a very gripping tale of the the determination and courage of the Igbo people in their struggle for a nation of their own. One question particularly bothers me. Koren seems to indicate that there were minimal reprisals against the Igbo people after the war. This seems to be inconsistent with the memories of Chinua Achebe in his recent memoir
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a wonderfully written account of a dedicated volunteer in times of a war. Mr. Koren's love for the country and its people is clearly felt from every page! Read morePublished 17 months ago by Krisztina Szabo
David Koren's compelling adventure in the midst of the iconic Biafran airlift is more than just great reading. Read morePublished on January 13, 2014 by EM Goodkind
On Monday morning, October 7, 1968, a young man showed up at the UNICEF office in New York City, expecting to fly to West Africa. Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by Jill C Kelly
What a wonderful book from a gifted writer.
I first became familiar with Mr. Koren through a short personal article he had written on behalf of the US Peace Corps. Read more
Though it is essentially a personal narrative, it draws the reader into the lives and fate of the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria as seen through the eyes of a young Peace Corps... Read morePublished on August 16, 2012 by sheric
"Far Away in the Sky" brought back many memories of time I spent in a neighboring West African country, Sierra Leone. Read morePublished on July 27, 2012 by bcanida