Book Review

Friday, 19 October 2012 15:31

Quantum Solipsism: Book Review by Ozodi Osuji

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Fred Alan Wolf, Taking The Quantum Leap. (New York: Harper and Row, 1987), 282 Pages. In this book, Professor Fred Alan Wolf (San Diego State University, California) reviewed the march of Western science, from early Greeks to the loss of reason during the Catholic Church induced dark ages and the return to science that began with Copernicus. He told us what Copernicus did, and then proceeded to telling us a bit about Galileo (demonstrated that the sun is the center of the solar system), Newton (three laws of motion, law of gravity, and with Leibnitz, calculus), Kepler, Tyco Brahe and…
At last, the world is hearing from Professor Chinua Achebe, Africa’s foremost novelist, distinguished intellectual and author of the classic, Things Fall Apart, on the Nigeria-Biafra war. In a new book (There Was a Country – A Personal History of Biafra, New York: Penguin, 2012), Achebe presents a detailed account of what is widely regarded as the ‘genocidal Biafran war’ prosecuted forty-two years ago in which about 3 million people (mostly, unarmed civilians, including women and children) were brutally killed. When you talk about genocide in Africa, most people would eagerly prefer we all look towards Rwanda or Darfur, or…
Cyprian Ekwensi, Jagua Nana. (New York: Fawcett Premier Book, 1961), 207 Pages. A Book Review By Ozodi Osuji Yesterday, July 26, 2012, around 6PM, I went to a used book store to see if there are books that I could buy and read. I went to the section on Afro-Americans and browsed. Guess what I saw? I saw Cyprian Ekwensi's book, Jaguar Nana. I bought it (as well as other books). I quickly rushed home and started reading it. I did not go to sleep until I was done with it. I decided to write a review of the book…
Jacob Carruthers, Intellectual Warfare. (Chicago: Third World Press, 1999)310 Pages. A Book Review By Ozodi Osuji I had asked a friend who is in the know about African American Studies at American Universities to recommend ten books that he felt that anyone interested in the field ought to read. He gave me a list and ranked them in order of importance. I read each and reviewed it for those who might want to read it, too. I have just got to Jacob Caruthers book, Intellectual warfare. I must confess that because I read it last I read it without much…
The term religion derives from Latin, religio. Religio is any effort to yoke one's self back to whatever one considers being one's source. Apparently, some human beings believe that they have a source (origin) outside this world and have always made efforts to reconnect themselves to that source. The source is generally construed as spirit, as opposed to our world which is a place of space, time and matter. Spirit is that which transcends matter. Since matter is a place of death and dying, of mortality, spirit is a place of immortality and eternity, permanence, changelessness, timelessness, spacelessness; spirit is…
Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Mask (1952). New York: Grove Press. A Book Review By Ozodi Osuji From a political angle Franz Fanon's most important books are The Wretched of the Earth and A Dying Colonialism. However, I decided to review this particular book, Black Skin, White Mask, primarily because I noticed that many Africans have a tendency to talk about inferiority feeling in Africans. Generally, such Africans lob the term inferiority feeling at some Africans and do so as a put down. That would seem to suggest that they have healthy self-concept. However, when you come close to them…
Joy Degruy Leary, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. (Milwaukie, Oregon: Upton Press, 2005) 235 Pages. Book Review By Ozodi Osuji In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (2005 Edition) there is a nosological category called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a grab bag diagnosis because it encompasses symptoms found in other psychiatric disorders such as anxiety disorder and depression, even delusion disorder. The idea is that those who were exposed to stressful and or traumatic situations tend to exhibit certain symptoms. For example, children who were abused, housewives who were terrorized by abusive husbands, soldiers who…
Yosef Ben Jochannan, Africa, Mother of Western Civilization. (Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press, 1971) 700 Pages. A Book Review By Ozodi Osuji It seems that many African people (in Africa and in the Americas) during the post second world war world were immensely affected by what they believed was Europe’s concerted effort to put Africans down. They perceived themselves attacked by the mere presence of Europe and went on a warpath to defend their selves. Africans are a proud people; colonialism induced subordinate relationship between Africans and Europeans pricked Africans egos, pride and vanity; they felt narcissistic injury; in fact,…
Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro. (Chicago: African-American Images, 1933) 218 Pages. A Book Review By Ozodi Osuji Dr. Woodson (1875-1950) is an interesting man; interesting because he was born shortly after slavery ended in the United States and still he managed to give himself a world class education (he was the second black man, after W.E.B Dubois, to obtain a doctorate degree from Harvard University and like Dubois he, too, studied in Europe, Paris, France, and travelled extensively in Africa and other parts of the world). Dr. Woodson was very cosmopolitan from his extensive travels around the…
Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization. (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1974) 318 pages. A Book Review By Ozodi Osuji Beginning during his student days at Paris, France, in the 1940s, Professor Diop was obsessed by the desire to prove to a skeptical world that Africans had great civilizations and, indeed, that they initiated human civilizations. Apparently, he had imbibed the self-serving propaganda by racist white scholars that Africans did not have any civilization of note and therefore cannot be expected to mount a civilization. The implicit message in this propaganda is that Africans ought to be ruled by…
This book was originally published in 1970. Thus, it preceded Chancellor Williams Destruction of Black Civilization (published initially in 1974). The two books covered the same subjects. If I had known that they were dealing with the same topics, I would have written a review of this book before the Destruction of Black Civilization. This is because doing justice to this book means repeating what I said in the destruction of black civilization. I do not like to repeat myself. Therefore, I urge the reader to read either book for they are really covering the same terrain. Mr. Jackson lived…
Chancellor Williams, The Destruction of Black Civilization. (Chicago: Third World Press, 1987) 384 Pages. A book Review By Ozodi Osuji Professor Chancellor Williams (1898-1992) taught history at Howard University, Washington DC. USA. In this book he was a man on a mission, not just a scholar who in a detached and dispassionate manner delineated a phenomenon without injecting his opinion into what he described. Such unsympathetic and impersonal scholarship would not do for Dr. Williams; he was a man who felt wronged and was out to correct that wrong and was not about to not let his feelings known by…
Betty J. Eadie (1992). Embraced by the light. Placerville, CA: Gold Leaf Press. Book Review by Ozodi Thomas Osuji First, I will summarize the book and thereafter examine the implication of the reality or lack thereof of life existing after we die. The story is that in 1973 thirty one years old Betty J. Eadie, an American woman of mixed Irish and Indian heritage had a near death experience. She had had seven children and decided to have a hysterectomy so as not to have other children and went to a hospital to have that operation. The operation went well…
Dale Carnegie. How to win friends and Influence people. (New York: Pocket Books, 1981), 276 Pages I read this book many years ago. Recently, while browsing at a used books store I bought a copy and re-read it. Here are some of the points that I got from it; these points might help you in your interpersonal relationships; in managing human relationships. Certain Nigerians think that it is kind of cute to degrade and humiliate human beings; it kind of makes them feel (falsely) superior by putting other Nigerians down; they might benefit from reading this book. Among other things,…
Monday, 13 February 2012 06:48

Our World According to Binyavanga Wainaina

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Book Review: One Day I Will Write About This Place. By Binyavanga Wainaina. Graywolf Press; 272 pages Every African thinker should find a copy of Binyavanga Wainaina’s new book, One Day I Will Write about This Place and read it carefully from front to back. Scratch “African,” every thinker should read this enigmatic book by one of the most enigmatic thinkers I have never met. Wainaina entertains and educates with his brilliance and lunacy as displayed in the many exhilarating chapters of this unusual memoir. One is reminded repeatedly that there’s no fine line between brilliance and lunacy; Wainaina is…
Adunni my iPad just bought me an e-book, “The Granta Book of the African Short Story” published by Grantaand edited by the Nigerian writer Helon Habila. The book’s “Introduction” written by Habila alone is worth the price of the book. Adunni is happy. I am happy. It is an engaging, cerebral, thoughtful and comprehensive treatise on the short story form as practiced by African writers. Habila starts out with this bold salvo: “I often attend lectures and conferences where some distinguished speaker will give a talk on African literature that, to my disappointment, if not surprise, begins and ends with…
Monday, 13 February 2012 06:45

Of Biafra, Roses, Bullets and Valium

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The other day, Adunni my trusty iPad bought me Roses and Bullets, Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo’s new book on the Nigerian civil war. I don’t know, iPads should not be this powerful; Adunni has unfettered access to my bank account and she is always buying me books off the Internet. I wish she would buy me books that engage and entertain me like a good bottle of cognac VSOP. I won’t lie, reading Adimora-Ezeigbo’s latest offering was pure torture. The book sent me to sleep each time I opened it on Adunni’s Kindle. I stopped reading it halfway; I won’t be back…
Monday, 13 February 2012 06:43

African Roar 2011: African Writers Whimpering

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Adunni, my iPad just bought me African Roar 2011, an anthology of stories written by fifteen African writers, and edited by Emmanuel Sigauke and Ivor Hartmann. I don’t think Adunni wasted our precious money but I expected more; I hope this is not my Christmas present. Contrary to what the anthology implies, it is not exactly representative of African writing; the writers come from just five English speaking countries; seven are from Zimbabwe, four from Nigeria, two from South Africa, and one each from Ghana and Malawi. I loved the debut annual anthology last year and reviewed it here. Sadly…
First published January 5, 2010 Forgetting is the final instrument of genocide. To witness genocide is to feel not only the chill of your own mortality, but the degradation of all humanity… even the most brilliant photography cannot capture the landscape of genocide. - Simon Norfolk The writers Okey Ndibe and Chenjerai Hove are two of Africa’s finest thinker-writers. They are awesome wordsmiths, word cannon balls boom fiercely out of their fecund minds pulverizing their targets with uncanny accuracy. They write with an uncommon sensitivity to the issues that Africa faces. This they do with respect and compassion and one…
Book Review By Theresa Onwughalu Study And Work Abroad: A Global Directory Of Opportunities by Adewale T. Akande, Spectrum Books Limited, Ibadan, Safari Books (Export) Limited & African Books Collective Limited, United Kingdom, 2004, pp 120. Do you want to study or work abroad? Ample opportunities are now at your doorstep. The book, Study And Work Abroad: A Global Directory Of Opportunities by Adewale T. Akande offers a rich compendium of information for everyone be it the youths, job hunters, academics, travelers, and professionals in different fields of endeavour who wish to live, study or work abroad. According to the…
Fela: This Bitch of a Life by Carlos Moore : Book Review by Glory Edozien About the Book Fela disturbs, shocks, inspires. His volcanic performances, trance-like music and defiant lifestyle have found him a huge worldwide following. But it also brought him appalling physical punishment, brutal confrontation with the military and police, official ostracism and media attack. Still, he swept to international fame on a wave of controversy, scandal and flamboyant in-your-face politics. But what was he really like, this man who could as easily arouse violent hostility from Africa’s ruling elites as unswerving loyalty from the underdogs of society?…
The Kpim of Death: Book Review by Patrick Iroegbu Description This book illustrates insightful studies in African philosophy and culture about death, life and social care. It prompts us to reason to know that "as the lawyers engage in laws and legalities, the scientists in producing weapons of mass destruction, the terrorists in preparing the acts of murder, we philosophers learn to live and die for a purpose." What is being born to die? The Kpim of Death is a provocative invitation to all and sundry to expend a little time out of their tight engagements to reflect on what…
Raymond W. Smock, Booker T. Washington: Black Leadership in the Age of Jim Crow. (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee publisher, 2009) 210 pages. RETHINKING THE ROLE OF BOOKER T WASHINGTON IN BLACK LIBERATION Book Review by Ozodi Thomas Osuji Yesterday, I read a biography of Booker T Washington by Dr. Raymond W. Smock. This reading gave me an opportunity to rethink what I had thought about Mr. Washington. Before I embark on telling you what I now think of Mr. Washington let me briefly summarize this brief 210 pages book. Booker was born in 1856 in Franklin County, Virginia, USA. His…
Review by Paul I. Adujie Professors Abi Adegboye and Ibiyemi Dare have written a most fascinating account on how life is lived in Western Nigeria in the book, Owanbe! Yoruba Celebrations of Life. This superb “How-To” Manual details many aspects of Yoruba culture in a conversational, user-friendly manner. It is timely, prescient, and profound. It comes at a time when more and more Nigerians live in the Diaspora. This well written, appealing, and well-documented cultural masterpiece is profound for many reasons, but two immediate reasons will suffice. The first reason is the dearth and paucity of similar writings, documentations, and…
Reviewed by Adeyinka Makinde The name Sam Langford has loomed large in many constructions of boxing history. From the oral discourses of the old timers to the pictorial digests of the glossy coffee table offerings, Langford’s tale is often summarised by his rivalries with contemporary black fighters Joe Jeannette and Sam McVey, his unrequited hopes of attaining the heavyweight championship of the world –a slender chance rendered impossible by the decisions and indiscretions of Jack Johnson- and his later descent into a private hell of blindness and poverty. It is of course true that while historians have consistently alluded to…