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A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe
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A Man of the People (original 1966; edition 1989)

by Chinua Achebe

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562817,723 (3.72)48
Member:amckie
Title:A Man of the People
Authors:Chinua Achebe
Info:Anchor (1989), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:2011, .Fiction

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A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe (1966)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Power corrupts absolutely in this novel where bribery, governmental apathy and incopetence vie as the modus operandi for a cruel dictator. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
At first I was unsure what to make of this short novel; the biographical introduction to the titular man of the people left me dry, but the pace picked up with the narrator's fateful journey to the capital. Full of the minor details that place a novel in a real culture, this is the book that left me hankering for a return to Africa, but at the same made me glad not to be living there.

https://youtu.be/5LAH05tWBQU ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Nov 8, 2014 |
This is a classical parable about an established politician (Chief Nanga) who angers a young upstart (Odili, Nanga’s former best pupil in class) by bedding what Nanga thinks is one of Odili’s many girlfriends (but in fact turned out to be his only serious gf). The aggrieved young man vows revenge, setting out to steal Chief Nanga’s proposed second wife, Edna, and establishing a new opposition party. The point Chinua Achebe wishes to make in this novel is that post-Independence nationalist politics reflects big men rule, whereby upstarts use the political path as another means to settle personal grievances. The novel is obviously set in Nigeria, and succinctly highlights all sorts of mechanisms that keep the powerful in power. At some stage however, once the elections have been won by the ruling party, Odili’s party has been crushed, its leader killed, Odili himself crippled in hospital, the genie is out of the bottle. The organised violent gangs instituted by the ruling party to win the elections, take the law in their own hands, going on a looting spree. This then destabilises the country to such an extent that the silent, cynical masses spring to life, and the Army commits a coup d’Etat to restore order by jailing the ruling chefs. Chinua’s novel was seen as a master piece at the time, since it predated the coupe in Nigeria by 6 months. ( )
1 vote alexbolding | Oct 5, 2013 |
The young Odili joins his former teacher, now Minister of Culture, Nanga in the capital. Hot-tempered, he falls out with his master and joins the opposition to get revenge. He has got his eyes up for the huge amounts of corruption going on, but people do not appear to want to hear that message, they know it already and have reverted to cynicism and narrow village interest. Fraud, violence and mayhem follow the rivalries of the two camp, but not with much room for hope of better times. ( )
  ohernaes | Apr 14, 2013 |
I confess I never really understood Achebe's popularity until very recently. [b:Things Fall Apart|37781|Things Fall Apart|Chinua Achebe|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1352082529s/37781.jpg|825843] was simply average to me, an interesting little yam fable but not of much apparent depth.

I abandoned that misconception after reading A Man of the People. Here, Achebe shows more clearly what I had missed. He is a savvy chronicler of language, personality, and greed. He writes with affectionate and mocking detail.

The story revolves around a young educated man, Odili, and his relationship with Chief Nanga, a corrupt, swaggering Minister of Culture in an unnamed country. Odili tries at first to become friends with Nanga. After a falling out, Odili plans an elaborate revenge, involving Nanga's young wife and the recent elections.

It is easy to say, "This book is an allegory" - there's politics as the most brutal infighting, the young and educated versus the old and traditional, the power and brutishness of corruption, and so forth. But the story is a bit more subtle than that. Internal tyrants join in with the external ones in the great Scramble for power. Our heroes tell little lies about themselves to make themselves look better. Achebe savors personal tics, details, dialects, and especially little ironies.

Of course, there was a coup, in Achebe's own Nigeria. The book mirrored reality so well that Achebe had to flee for his life, after the government suspected that Achebe must have been a conspirator. This, of course, is the greatest possible irony an author can aspire(?) for.

A short yet pungent look on disillusionment and even hope.

In such a regime, I say, you died a good death if your life had inspired someone to come forward and shoot your murderer in the chest-without asking to be paid.

Rest in Peace. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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"No one can deny that Chief the Honourable M. A. Nanga, M.P., was the most approachable politician in the country..."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385086164, Paperback)

By the renowned author of Things Fall Apart, this novel foreshadows the Nigerian coups of 1966 and shows the color and vivacity as well as the violence and corruption of a society making its own way between the two worlds.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

By the renowned author of Things Fall Apart, this novel foreshadows the Nigerian coups of 1966 and shows the color and vivacity as well as the violence and corruption of a society making its own way between the two worlds.

(summary from another edition)

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