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This book can be read as a historical voyage of the Igbos of Nigeria since their encounter with alien cultures and their heroic response to the challenges posed by the encounter. In a narrative that reads like an epic drama the author captures the high points of the Igbo existential constraints across time and space and their efforts to master their environment in its physical and metaphysical dimensions. The slave trade increased internecine wars and led to the depopulation of the Igbo country side. Colonialism and the policy of Indirect Rule brought to a standstill a people's burgeoning democratic and egalitarian system of governance and replaced it with the obnoxious system of warrant chiefs, in a society that believes that 'there is a king in every person." It was only a matter of time for the resentment occasioned by these events to explode. Igbos had fired warning shots through bloody confrontations with the British. Typical examples are the Aba Women's War of 1929 and the Iva Valley Coal Miners revolt in 1949. The author shows how these events would eventually lead to a civil war because of the Igbo spirit against injustice. For a people noted for their proclivity to commit suicide rather than to submit to slavery of any kind, war was nothing but an unavoidable demonstration of their will to be free. The bloody civil war that resulted wreaked havoc on the Nigerian society as well as on the Igbo ethnic formation. The Igbo Challenge, Beyond Recrimination and Rancour is copious with suggestions on the way the Igbos can recapture their lost glories within a constraining and vengeful Nigerian polity and how Nigeria can be a true federation of equal partners.
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