There Was a Country was written by Chinua Achebe, one of Nigeria’s most famous authors. It was published in 2012, after Achebe had remained in silence on the events of the Nigerian Civil War for over forty years. There Was a Country is an account of this civil war, one of the most devastating events in modern Africa. Compounded with Achebe fame from narratives that had already left an indelible stamp on literature worldwide, the history wrapped into a memoir filled with observations, research, and reflections tells a compelling story.
The work is a memoir, revealing Achebe’s early life with the Igbo, the dominant ethnic group in eastern Nigeria. While his parents were Christians, Achebe understood the religious beliefs of the Igbo better, yet he learned from both and incorporated both into his writing. Even then, Achebe saw that the Europeans had enslaved his people and brought Christianity, and so he held a certain skepticism against the religion. Achebe was an immensely talented storyteller and writer, and his parents encouraged his education and continual pursuit of knowledge. As tensions arose between the natives and the Europeans, Achebe continued to grow in his skill and reflected on his experiences, ultimately allowing him to create There Was a Country.