A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa

Alexis Okeowo. Hachette, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-0-316-38293-9
Okeowo, a staff writer at the New Yorker, offers an evocative and affecting portrait of contemporary Africa with four narratives featuring subjects from war-torn countries who are battling fundamentalism and medieval barbarity where they live. Okeowo, an American raised in Alabama by Nigerian parents, spent five years living in Africa and reporting from across the continent. The people she highlights include a couple from Uganda who met as teenagers when they were both kidnapped by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army; a Mauritanian activist waging a semisuccessful, but lonely, antislavery campaign; a dual account of a Nigerian girl who escapes from Boko Haram and a government worker who starts a vigilante task force against the group; and a women’s basketball team in Somalia that persists—and often thrives—despite deep prejudice and death threats against female athletes in that country. Through these narratives larger issues emerge, such as how ineffectual governments depend on vigilantes to protect their citizens from rebel groups such as Boko Haram, or the way families suffer intergenerational trauma when one or more members have violent experiences. In this memorable debut, Okeowo’s in-depth, perceptive reporting gives a voice to the extraordinarily courageous—and resilient—women and men fighting malevolent ideologies and organizations in their native countries. Agent: Jin Auh, Wylie Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2017
Release date: 10/03/2017
Audio Product - 978-1-4789-4120-0
Ebook - 978-0-316-38291-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-9702-3
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