There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra Audiobook, by Chinua Achebe Play Audiobook Sample

There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra Audiobook

There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra Audiobook, by Chinua Achebe Play Audiobook Sample
FlexPass™ Price: $15.95
$9.95 for new members!
(Includes UNLIMITED podcast listening)
  • Love your audiobook or we'll exchange it
  • No credits to manage, just big savings
  • Unlimited podcast listening
Add to Cart
$9.95/m - cancel anytime - 
learn more
Regular Price: $18.95 Add to Cart
Read By: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Publisher: Penguin Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 6.17 hours at 1.5x Speed 4.63 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: October 2012 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9781101579374

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

27:20 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

22 seconds

Average Chapter Length:

07:28 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

From the legendary author of Things Fall Apart comes a longawaited memoir about coming of age with a fragile new nation, then watching it torn asunder in a tragic civil war The defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe’s people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war’s full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa’s most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature. Achebe masterfully relates his experience, bothas he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria’s birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country’s promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read There Was a Country is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers—they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people. Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe’s place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age. "1966", "Benin Road", "Penalty of Godhead", "Generation Gap", "Biafra, 1969", "A Mother in a Refugee Camp", "The First Shot", "Air Raid", "Mango Seedling", "We Laughed at Him", "Vultures", and "After a War" from Collected Poems by Chinua Achebe. Copyright © 1971, 1973, 2004 by Chinua Achebe. Used by permission of Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc. and The Wylie Agency, LLC.

Download and start listening now!

"I wish the narrator knew how to pronounce a lot of the names of people and places in the country. The storyline is good, the final part with banjo's speech is very telling. Classic example of saying one thing then doing the opposite. "

— Ken (4 out of 5 stars)


  • “Chinua Achebe’s history of Biafra is a meditation on the condition of freedom. It has the tense narrative grip of the best fiction. It is also a revelatory entry into the intimate character of the writer’s brilliant mind and bold spirit. Achebe has created here a new genre of literature in which politico-historical evidence, the power of storytelling, and revelations from the depths of the human subconscious are one. The event of a new work by Chinua Achebe is always extraordinary; this one exceeds all expectation.”

    — Nadine Gordimer, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
  • “Achebe’s prose is the equivalent of a steadying hand. Elegant and avuncular, his words gradually guide the reader from a jolly account of his youth in Igbo land, his education and his nascent literary career, to his harrowing experiences of the war.”

    — San Francisco Chronicle
  • “Achebe writes in a characteristically modest fashion...Like much of Achebe’s other work, this book...has a universal quality...There Was a Country is a valuable account of how the suffering caused by war is both unnecessary and formative.”

    — Newsweek
  • “Memoir and history are brought together by a master storyteller.”

    — Guardian (London)
  • “A brave, clear-sighted treatment of the political background and brutal reality of the Nigerian-Biafran War.”

    — Telegraph (London)
  • “In a work that is part memoir and part history, Chinua Achebe tells not only his own story but also the story of his country, Nigeria. Listening to Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s fully credible African accent, one can hardly believe he was born and raised in London. His deep Nigerian tone transports the listener. He delivers African names with a natural ease. And his slow pacing and perfect diction allow the listener to easily follow the harrowing story of the Nigerian civil war...Author and narrator are perfectly paired in a moving production that will stay with the listener long after the final word is spoken.”

    — AudioFile
  • “Achebe’s book will appeal to scholars of Africa, but its reach will extend to all readers interested in learning more about the author’s life and the life of his country.”

    — Library Journal
  • “A powerful memoir/document of a terrible conflict and its toll on the people who endured it.”

    — Kirkus Reviews

There Was a Country Listener Reviews

Be the first to write a review about this audiobook!

About Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe (1930–2013) was a prominent Nigerian writer who is famous for his novels describing the effects of Western customs and values on traditional African society. His satire and keen ear for spoken language made him one of the most highly esteemed African writers in English. He published novels, essay collections, poetry, short stories, and juvenile fiction. Among his works are Things Fall Apart, Anthills of the Savannah, A Man of the People, Arrow of God, and the notable collections Morning Yet on Creation Day and Hopes and Impediments. A recipient of the Man Booker International Prize, he was the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.