[Read E-pub] ♴ Little Liberia ⚆ Escortgps.co

I did not find this book as engrossing as Steinberg s others, and found myself wondering what the point of it was right up to the end I could have put this down at any stage and would not really have wondered how it ended Well written of course, as always, but my least favourite of his to date. I m an unapologetic fiction gal, but Steinberg s account of Liberia, Liberians, New York, and Americo Liberians was the most compelling non fiction account I ve read of a region, issue or conflict in years This should be a mandatory supplement for anyone studying Liberia in a modern or historical context, or even the socio political configuration of West Africa today Steinberg is a gifted writer, too, and doesn t hesitate to turn the magnifier on himself and the challenges that accompany the attempt to accurately portray individuals life stories and personalities as part of the larger truth of Liberia s complex civil war years and aftermath Perhaps only a South African could bring such a fresh, insightful take of Liberians and Americans to the fore. [Read E-pub] ♲ Little Liberia ♵ On Park Hill Avenue In New York City, Almost Everyone Is Liberian Most People Know One Another If Not By Name, Then By Face And Yet Neighbours Do Not Ask One Another What They Did In Liberia, For The Question Is Considered An Accusation Many People Here Fled Liberia S Brutal Civil War, A Conflict That Claimed The Lives Of One In Fourteen Liberians The Question Of Who Is Responsible Is A Bitter OneJacob Massaquoi Arrived On Park Hill Avenue In Limping Heavily Before He Had Been There A Week, A Hundred Stories Abounded About His Injury By This Time Rufus Arkoi Was The Acknowledged Leader Of New York S Liberians, A Man Who Had Sat Out The War In America, But Who Harboured Hopes Of One Day Returning Home To Run For PresidentWithin A Year The Two Men Were Locked In A Conflict That Threatened To Consume The Community The Suspicions And Accusations The Residents Had Bottled Up For Years Exploded At Once To Observers It Appeared That This Enclave Of Exiles Was Frozen At The Time Of Their Flight, Restarting A War That Had Ended Back HomeJonny Steinberg Spent Two Years In New York Shadowing Rufus And Jacob, Eventually Journeying To Liberia To Piece Together Their Biographies From The People Who Once Knew Them What Emerges Is A Story Of A Horrific And Heart Wrenching Civil War, Of A Deeply Troubled Relationship Between America And West Africa, Of Personal Ambition Wrestling With Moral Responsibility, Of Memory Wrestling With Forgetfulness And Of The Quest To Be Human In A World Losing Its HumanityMixing History, Reportage And A Wealth Of Extraordinary Personal Stories Jonny Steinberg Takes Up The Tale Of A Fractured African Nation And Its Diaspora To Remarkable Effect Little Liberia Is A Unique And Important Book, Told With Clarity And Compassion, By One Of Our Best And Brightest Young Writers I had no past knowledge of the historical relations between America and Liberia Steinberg weaves a beautiful narrative that has you turning the pages wanting Its a great read with some horrific scenes of genocide and cannibalism scattered along the way Be sure not to skip the epilogue Jonny is honest and extremely revealing about his thoughts in making this book a reality.A couple of lines I loved It had been a long time since I had met a soul pointed so sharply and purely at the future The memories of boyhood he chooses to share with me are stylised and slim he hurries across the surface of history in his urgent manner, stopping only briefly here and there, like a host impatient to lead his visitor on to important things Adults and politics are sullied and useless you cannot work with them for you cannot change them they are stubborn, they are difficult, they require too much negotiation, too much manoeuvring, they tire you out and depress you. I have really enjoyed Steinberg s other work, especially the nonfiction book Sizwe s Test in South Africa, Three Letter Plague This book was a very interesting look at two Liberian refugees in New York, and how they managed to survive both the war there and the creation of a life in the U.S The character Jacob is particularly humbling it s hard to imagine someone who experienced horror, yet he seized every opportunity with incredible energy and focus And all these hidden histories exist in American cities and suburbs, if only the rest of us would look, and ask. This book taught me so much about Liberia and its connection to the USA, which I never understood before I always find it confusing when reading books about Africa that the Africans often have a love hate relationship with the USA It is also evident in this book yet America gives them an opportunity which they otherwise would not have had in terms of furthering their education, finding employment, getting health care etc In this case however there seems to be a type of entitlement Is this perhaps because of America being Liberia s parent body I also found the relationship between the America Liberians and the native Liberians interesting It seems that money or the lack of it plays a vital role and much is made of who holds the power. Well written, the story and writing grabbed me from the first chapter and I much irrirated I had to put the book down and go to work Steinberg clearly has done a wealth of research and I appreciate the notes and further reading sections at the end of the book He wrote about African politics in Liberia in a compassionate way I much appreciated the history lesson about the civil war in Liberia and story of immigrants such as Joseph Rufus, who fled a war zone to come to America. I liked this book about the impact of the Liberian War on two leaders of the Liberian exile community in Staten Island, NY who are at odds with each other Through the lives of Jacob and Rufus we see the different nuances of this long conflict and its impact on the exile community A thoughtful and informative book. Little Liberia, an African Odyssey in New YorkJonny Steinberg has this knack of being able to introduce people to worlds most of us would not even consider entering the world of prison gangs, the world of cops on patrol in the townships and now, in his latest book Little Liberia, An African Odyssey in New York, the world of two Liberians who live in a sort of reconstructed version of their country in New York City.I ll hazard a guess and say most New Yorkers don t know there s a Liberian community living on Staten Island I spent two years working at the Manhattan headquarters of the most ethnically diverse organisation in the world, the United Nations, and I didn t know about the Park Hill Avenue Liberians.There s about Big Liberia in this book than Little Liberia much of Steinberg s story is about the period of coups and war which started in 1980 with the arrival of Samuel Doe and which culminates when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is democratically elected shortly before former President Charles Taylor is arrested on charges of war crimes.Liberia is unusual amongst African countries you might say it was the only African country to have been colonised by Africans in this case descendents of African slaves making the return journey from the USA to take up positions as bosses on African soil a group known as Americo Liberians By following the life story of Rufus, who arrived in the US before the war, and Jacob, who arrived there after one of the bloodiest battles of the Liberian civil war, Steinberg expertly weaves together pieces of two very similar stories of violence and exile, told from two very different political perspectives Since declaring itself independent in 1847, Liberia has been ruled almost exclusively by Americo Liberians indigenous Liberians have only been in charge for a short period, most of it under the brutal rule of Samuel Doe If Doe had a redeeming feature it was his love of soccer Rufus, transplanted to America, believed that soccer would be his ticket back to Liberia and a better life under an indigenous administration Jacob s father, a local administrator and an indigenous Liberian, was close to the Americo Liberian political class When Doe took power, Jacob s family s fortunes changed In the relatively close confines of Staten Island, it was inevitable that home country conflicts would be recreated It s refreshing to read an African story told by a South African Although I sometimes doubt the veracity of all that Rufus and Jacob share with Steinberg, I imagine part of the bond that allowed such frank exchanges came from the fact that all three call the same continent home It s very clear that Rufus and Jacob do not like each other, but in both cases their Liberian identity is stronger than their desire to become American When attempting to explain the difference between Africans and other new arrivals to the US, Rufus, with what I imagine is great pride, tells Steinberg More African immigrants in America get degrees than any other immigrants And in that quote can be found one of the main reasons I like Jonny Steinberg s writing he always manages to find an element of hope for the future, even while he explores elements of human nature at its worst. Since reading Jonny Steinberg s outstanding work of non fiction The Number, I decided that it was high time to tackle one of his recent works, Little Liberia What I appreciate about Steinberg s writing style is that he completely immerses himself in his subject and is one of my role models as a journalist I also appreciate the way his books are able to introduce me to worlds and people that I would never know or understand otherwise.In this book, Steinberg spends two years speaking to, following around and getting to know two Liberians who fled that country s civil war, only to find themselves in Staten Island, New York The premise of this book is that the Liberian community which now lives in New York is frozen in time, stuck in the moment that they left Liberia, which includes all the factionalism and mistrust that caused the civil war in the first place.The subjects of the story are Rufus Arkoi and Jacob Massaquoi, two Liberians separated both by age and clan Rufus passion is football, which he uses both as a means to escape Liberia and to promote youth development in his country of exile Meanwhile, Jacob stayed in Liberia for much of the war, only seeking to escape after many traumatic and devastating encounters, one of which leaves him with a tell tale limp that marks him in his new life of exile.The book is well written in Steinberg s typical style, but I was somewhat disappointed that I didn t learn as much about the Liberian civil war as I had hoped and as I have done with similar books, like Jacques Pauw s Rat Roads I did struggle to finish it, and at times I felt like there was too much going on too many themes and tropes and characters to try and pull together I certainly wouldn t recommend this book to just anyone, but if you find African politics interesting, as well as the modern concept of exile, it may well be worth it for you.