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Writing the Nigeria-Biafra War (Hardcover)
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The Nigeria-Biafra War lasted from 6 July 1966 to 15 January 1970, during which time the post-colonial Nigerian state fought to bring the South-Eastern region, which had seceded as the State or Republic of Biafra, back into the newly independent but ideologically divided nation. This volume discusses the trends and methodologies in the civil war writings, both fictional and non-fictional, and is the first to analyse in detail the intellectual and historical circumstances that helped to shape these often contentious texts. The recent high-profile fictional account by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Half of a Yellow Sun was preceded by works by Ken Saro-Wiwa, Elechi Amadi, Kole Omotoso, Wole Soyinka, Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta, Chukwuemeka Ike and Chris Abani, all of which strongly convey the horrific human cost of the war on individuals and their communities. The non-fictional accounts, including Chinua Achebe's last work There Was a Country, are biographies, personal accounts and essays on the causes and course of the war, its humanitarian crises and the collaboration of foreign nations. The contributors examine writers' and protagonists' use of contemporary published texts as a means of continued resistance and justification of the war, the problems of objectivity encountered in memoirs, and how authors' backgrounds and sources determine the kinds of biases that influenced their interpretations, including the gendered divisions in Nigeria-Biafra War scholarship and sources. By initiating a dialogue on the civil war literature, this volume engages a much-needed discourse on the problems confronting a culturally diverse post-war Nigeria. Toyin Falola is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin; Ogechukwu Ezekwem is a PhD student in the Department of History, University of Texas at Austin.