Our Kind of People: A Continent's Challenge, a Country's Hope

Uzodinma Iweala. Harper, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-128490-8
Nigerian native Iweala tackles Africa's AIDS crisis, examining its history and social stigma and talking to the activists, scholars, and doctors working to stop its spread. In discussing Western attitudes to the topic, he unpacks dehumanizing assumptions that only promiscuity, backwardness, or polygamy could explain such high rates of infection. He also speaks to people like Dr. Chukwumuanya Igboekwu, who works in an underfunded Nigerian clinic where he often pays for supplies out of his own pocket. The doctor notes that ashamed families often ask him to leave "HIV/AIDS" off death certificates. Idris, a community leader, frankly describes an infected woman's banishment from his village, explaining, "Everybody is afraid." Other interviews display a spectrum of HIV-positive people, like twenty-eight-year-old Angie, who lost her fiancé and her job after contracting the disease, and activist Samaila Garba, a former police officer. The book also explores this epidemic's consequences, which include sub-Saharan Africa's low life expectancy –just forty-five years–, dwindling workforce, and innumerable orphaned children. This is an accessible book for those seeking to learn more about the crisis, and Iweala's passion and urgency is vibrant on the page. Agents: Jeff Posternak & Tracy Bohan, The Wylie Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 12/10/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-06-209767-5
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-7195-2340-3
Paperback - 228 pages - 978-0-06-128491-5
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