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Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  2,320 Ratings  ·  337 Reviews
Leymah Gbowee was one of three women to receive the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize As a young woman growing up in Africa, seventeen-year-old Leymah Gbowee was crushed by a savage war when violence reached her native Monrovia, depriving her of the education she yearned for and claiming the lives of relatives and friends. As war continued to ravage Liberia, Gbowee's bitterness turne ...more
Audio CD, 6 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 2011)
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Clif Hostetler
Apr 05, 2012 Clif Hostetler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Lemah Gbowee has come as close as it is humanly possible to staring the devil in his face. She didn't blink, lived to tell about it, and is now the co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. In this memoir she describes her journey from hopelessness to empowerment. It is a story that will touch the hearts of any reader who dreams of a better world.

This is the memoir of a woman who experienced the devastation and horror of civil war in her native Liberia. In many ways her life was broken when th
...more
Amanda Konnik
I'm about to cast a very unpopular review, unfortunately there is just no way around it. "Mighty Be Our Powers", was simply unmotivational.

I must first give credit to Leymah Gbowee for her personal account of the Liberian war. The atrocities are unimaginable, unfortunately there in lies my issue with her recount of this devastating piece of African history. The majority of this novel is an introduction of how she felt throughout a good 10 years. Every moment, memory, challenge is simply a glimp
...more
Amy Moritz
May 14, 2012 Amy Moritz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Throw the word "sisterhood" in the title of something and I'm immediately intrigued. That's just how I roll. Oh, and add a segment on NPR and I'm probably really going to be interested in the book. Such was the case with Mighty Be Our Powers. With little knowledge of Liberia or the civil war there, I came to the book with an open mind. Leymah does a fantastic job of describing her country both before and during the conflict. Her personal story is one of choices she made and living with those con ...more
Rebecca Lunny
Mighty Be Our Powers is truly one of the most inspiring books I've ever read.

If you doubt the power of a female-only space, read this book.

If you are interested in conflict resolution, read this book.

If you wonder how one woman can inspire a nation to fight for peace, read this book.

I can not recommend this book highly enough. Leymah Gbowee is an amazing, real woman and one of my role models.
Bailey
This is a completely fascinating narrative of the Liberian Civil War that ended in 2003 - yes. I had no idea, and Gbowee actually won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 "for [her] non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work." This is a subject I knew nothing about, and I had no idea it was so recent.

The book itself is a little dry, and reads like Gbowee relating the story to Mithers. I'm sure this is what happened, but I've read narra
...more
tek
Oct 31, 2014 tek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gbowee does a good job of summarizing the major bullet points of the lead-up to the Liberian civil war. Those who feel unfamiliar with the subject might feel that they at least have some grasp of understanding to start understanding why it took place.

Gbowee tells the tale from a woman's perspective, and she takes great pains to mention the realities of many women whose lives she could never possibly understand or live (the child wife, the uneducated female child, the unloved and abused daughter,
...more
Kate
Apr 09, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brave-tales
What happens when reality violently jerks into a GRUESOME, LIVING HELL?

Not many teens I've spoken to know much about the Liberian War from the early 1990's to 2003. Yet that was one of the worst times in history- humans turned into disgusting creatures caught in chaos and no one was doing a thing about it. Finally, Leymah Gbowee, a strong yet lonely, hurting mother, changed everything with a demand for peace throughout West Africa with support from her fellow women.

Her autobiography shook me to
...more
Charlotte
This memoir was interesting. It is about a woman in Liberia during their civil war. Her efforts helped to establish peace in their country and she went on to work internationally to being women into the peace process in Africa and the Middle East.

Although the story was interesting, it often got bogged down in acronyms and justifications. Although after being irritated about some of the things she talked about and then justified, I realized she didn't have to add them at all and was probably (may
...more
Crystal
I'll be honest and admit that I didn't know much about Liberia's civil war when I started this book. I didn't know much about Liberia. that was kind of the point of reading the book. And I think Ms Gbowee--Leymah--does a great job at communicating much of what occurred during the (ten years?) their county suffered through the horrific civil war. it's frightening to be reminded yet again how quickly a civilized and productive country can fall into horrific, genocidal civil war and violence. Leyma ...more
Julie Laporte
Nov 16, 2011 Julie Laporte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Very empowering book for women. Inspiring. Made me realize just how much work can be done to achieve peace--and how many organizations and degreed programs/certifications/training there are available. Peace has always seemed like a sort of laissez-faire sort of concept for me (an over-simplification, but you get my drift)--a sort of ideal, and outside education and working for tolerance and conflict resolution, I wasn't sure how much a single person can do. This book will show you! I believe eve ...more
Sherry
Jan 08, 2012 Sherry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Leymah Gbowee deserved sharing the Nobel Peace Prize this year. I think she is one tough, strong, visionary and determined woman. I think Liberia and other countries in Africa and beyond are lucky to have her present. I think women and men everywhere would be touched and inspired by reading this book. I know I was/am. I, too, echo the voice of the older Liberian lady's voice, "Don't stop. Don't ever stop."

(and I liked learning about the Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA an
...more
Emily
This startlingly intimate memoir is uplifting and heart-wrenching, sometimes in the same paragraph. Ms. Gbowee pulls no punches describing her experiences during the decade-long civil war that destroyed much of her country. There are some scenes in this book that are incredibly difficult to read as she documents the terror and fear that were constant companions for thousands of Liberians for years on end.

Ms. Gbowee is open about her personal failings, as well as the problems her country faced an
...more
Tiffany
Jun 29, 2012 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was phenomenal. Simply put, it moved me. The author puts you IN the story. You picture the horrid conditions in Liberia, the slaughtering of innocent people. You feel her fear and desperation. You feel her drive for peace and you feel proud of her ambition for a better society in which to raise her kids.

In wretched times of war, many people flee. They leave their country, never to return. She is working toward the dream of returning to her home.

"My deepest dream, though, is to go home.
...more
Joanna
Feb 11, 2014 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"This is not a traditional war story. It is about an army of women in white standing up when one else would—unafraid, because the worst things imaginable had already happened to us. It is about how we found the moral clarity, persistence and bravery to raise our voices against war and restore sanity to our land. You have not heard it before, because it is an African woman's story, and our stories rarely are told. I want you to hear mine."

“Because of women like her, because of women like us, I be
...more
Don Weidinger
Sep 11, 2013 Don Weidinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
women in foreground, 1822-1842 independence, did exactly what done to them, common to cheat on women—men as dog, too greasy to throw away too bitter to swallow, Monrovia, government run school with no books and striking teachers, dual citizenship, rice as gold dust, fear and gratitude, Jesus satan we rebuke you, boots and soldiers, never—belongs to God, 6K civilians in 2 months dead, allow them to win, count your blessings and it will surprise you what the Lord has done, tie my waist for you, ha ...more
Scout
Nov 18, 2011 Scout rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leymah Gbowee is an absolutely amazing, inspiring, incredible women who took a hard past and hard life and turned it into something truly, unbelievably incredible. Mighty Be Our Powers is her memoir which is filled with more sorrow than joy, more tears than laughter, and more fear than peace. It all ended with a bittersweet ending filled with more joy than sorrow, more laughter than tears, and more peace than fear. Amazingly written and hard to put down Leymah Gebowee tells her story as it is. A ...more
Peter Heinrich
I started this book almost by accident, and really wasn't looking forward to the difficult subject matter—even if this memoir eventually turned out to be uplifting, faith-affirming, inspirational, eye-opening, etc. It was all those things, of course.

Gbowee tells an intensely personal story that feels genuine and unguarded, maybe at the cost of a little polish. She doesn't ignore her own shortcomings; she's not a saint. In this context, though, that just serves to emphasize how extraordinary chan
...more
marcus miller
Nov 14, 2011 marcus miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honest, open look at the brutality of war and civil conflict and the impact it has on individuals, particularly women and their families. Instead of being defeated, Gbowee is, with the help of friends and family, able to pull herself out of a horrible situation. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, Gbowee uses some of her personal experiences to help other women and their families in war-torn Liberia. Gbowee shares some of the strategies she and other women used to bring about a peaceful resoluti ...more
Betty
May 14, 2012 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-story
An uplifting and extraordinary story. This amazing woman along with the women of Western Africa have achieved astonishing things- not just peace in Liberia, which was the start her recognition. Gbowee manages to relate her memoir without dwelling on the horror of the war and with out bitterness. Her wide knowledge of peace procedures shines through and adds to the personal aspect of the memoir. I really enjoyed her ability to explain how these things in Africa could happen, and also how the issu ...more
Melanie Springer
Mar 23, 2013 Melanie Springer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story about Gbowee's powerful influence in Liberia. This book was a reminder to me that strong women can make a difference, even in places where patriarchy seems overwhelming. Even more importantly, Gbowee's ability to draw the women of Liberia together and create peace in the midst of war shows me that retributive violence does not always--or ever--need to be the answer. The women of Liberia were able to create peace in a situation that seemed helpless.
Kiah
Nov 06, 2016 Kiah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely stunning. Tragically beautiful.

While it is not the best for understanding the factors that went into the war, that is not the purpose of this book. It is a masterfully assembled memoir of Gbowee's experience. Rich with Afro-centric understanding of the war and Liberian culture, Gbowee gives us the ability to see things from the inside looking out.
Rebecca Budd
Started - May 17, 2012 and completed June 6, 2012.

Excellent read - written by a courageous woman!
What are my takeaways?
1) Leymah wrote this book to inspire change beyond the borders of Liberia.
2) The power of community in action is indomitable.
3) Everyone has the power to be a peace builder.


http://ontheroadbookclub.com/
Maame Prempeh
Nov 30, 2014 Maame Prempeh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an incredibly journey of triumph in the face of atrocities. The courage and the willingness to sojourn will have you moved, you will cry, you will be angry and be moved to be inspired.

A mighty woman indeed. The resilience of the Africa woman is phenomenal. I am greatly affected by this book, the kind that makes you want to do something to impact humanity.
Prayerpilgrim
Oct 21, 2011 Prayerpilgrim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story of a woman who refused to let war, politics, tragedy, circumstance and even her own bad choices continue to dis-empower her. Also a story of the power of women, united, to change the world around them.
Tessa
Apr 23, 2012 Tessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So powerful. So important. So inspiring. I gave it five stars because I believe everyone should read it. Gbowee's life is worthy of 5 stars.
Marie
May 19, 2017 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-booklist
Liberia

"If we are African, we are more likely to be marginalized and painted solely as pathetic- hopeless expressions, torn clothes, sagging breasts. Victims. That is the image of us that the world is used to, and the image that sells."

"In the midst of chaos, we walked miles to find food and water for our families, how we kept life going so that there would be something left to build on when peace returned."

"What's the point of education when one bullet can undo it?"

"While you're thankful for be
...more
Christina Mitchell
My god...give me strength to make it through this book. Such horror.
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Update: I did finish. Give me a bit to absorb it, and then I will write a (glowing) review. It will be one of my "READ THIS BOOK" reviews.
________________________________________

I just bet you were waiting with breathless anticipation for my review. (Ha!) Well, you're in luck. I am avoiding writing work for a grad course and you get to be the recipients of my procrastination. However, I ca
...more
Grburbank
Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee was about to start college when the Liberian Civil War broke out which devastated her nation and her life. Her memoir recounts the horrific war, her struggles as a battered woman and single mother, and her inspiring endeavor to organize Liberian women and demand peace.
Anne
May 12, 2017 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worthwhile book. Tells the story of the horrors of what went on during the rule of Charles Taylor in Liberia. The author lived through rapes, starvation, brutality and more in her country. But the author and the women of Liberia were instrumental in reversing it.
Alice Lippart
Though not without flaws, a remarkable book.
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Leymah Roberta Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist responsible for leading a women's peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.
The peace movement began when Gbowee reportedly had a dream where God told her, "Gather the women and pray for peace!" That was the beginning of the peace movement that united Christian and Muslim women against President Charles Taylor and
...more
More about Leymah Gbowee...

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“The person who hurt you--who raped you or killed your family--is also here. If you are still angry at that person, if you haven't been able to forgive, you are chained to him. Everyone could feel the emotional truth of that: When someone offends you and you haven't let go, every time you see him, you grow breathless or your heart skips a beat. If the trauma was really severe, you dream of revenge. Above you, is the Mountain of Peace and Prosperity where we all want to go. But when you try to climb that hill, the person you haven't forgiven weighs you down. It's a personal choice whether or not to let go. No one can tell you how long to mourn a death or rage over a rape. But you can't move forward until you break that chain.” 71 likes
“You can tell people of the need to struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire.” 19 likes
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