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A Man of the People
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A Man of the People

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,858 ratings  ·  100 reviews
By the renowned author of "Things Fall Apart," this novel foreshadows the Nigerian coups of 1966 and shows the color and vivacity as well as the violence and corruption of a society making its own way between the two worlds.
Paperback, 150 pages
Published December 19th 1988 by Anchor Books (first published 1966)
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Blood River by Tim ButcherThings Fall Apart by Chinua AchebeThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara KingsolverHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
38th out of 1,036 books — 977 voters
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African Fiction
16th out of 244 books — 208 voters

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I confess I never really understood Achebe's popularity until very recently. Things Fall Apart barely held my interest, and I was almost going to give up on him.

I abandoned that horrid misconception after reading A Man of the People. Here, Achebe shows more clearly what I had missed. He is a savvy chronicler of language, personality, and greed. He writes with affectionate and mocking detail.

The story revolves around a young educated man, Odili, and his relationship with Chief Nanga, a corrupt,
Ladies and gentlemen...a reread coming up with a truer review! I have given it 3 stars because I read it in school and the fact that I read it against my will. :D
Ben Dutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I strongly disliked the first two thirds of this book, but I really enjoyed the last bit. As with other Achebe books, it has a strong sense of foreboding throughout, and at first it seemed like just another moral fable, of a good man going bad. But then the narrator, an idealistic young man in his twenties, decides to stand up to a bully, though for some of the wrong reasons. At that moment, Achebe somehow perfectly captures what it is like to be young and foolish and headstrong and selfish and ...more
Sofia Samatar
I just reread this book for a class, and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. What I remembered from over a decade ago as a rather heavy-handed political satire turned out to be sly, smart and laugh-out-loud funny. Odili is a wonderful narrator, flawed yet so pained by his circumstances it's impossible not to sympathize. The "attempted poisoning" of Chief Koko made me burst out laughing in a coffee shop. Too bad the political had to become so personal in the end--it was more entertaining when it ...more
Esteban Gordon
I think what I like best about Achebe's writing is his use of African proverbs to reinforce many of the themes of his novels - especially since Western / European proverbs have been overdone to death in literature. I particularly like the narrator's voice in this novel - struggling politically yet still very much in touch with the everyday life of love and family.
A friend described this book to me as being the best way to explain why Africa is the way it is... As well as being a very good read, the complexities of African politics are clear here, the tensions of post colonialism, the ambition and criticism of government, and the corruption. Very interesting.
Aziz Zabidi
Pokok persoalan novel ini bukanlah tentang hero atau penjahat. Walaupun naratifnya memuncak dari pertelingkahan kuasa diantara 'Saya', seorang intelektual muda dan Ketua Nanga, seorang menteri yang rasuah dan bobrok namun kelihatannya apa yang menyebabkan pertelingkahan itu bukanlah berpunca daripada niat yang murni intelektual itu untuk mengubah keadaan yang sedia diketahuinya bobrok. Penentangan yang lebih berpunca daripada masalah peribadi itu memaparkan secara bijaksana inti cerita Achebe in ...more
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Ambar Yadav
"A Man of the People" is, on the surface, a story about incumbent greed and how the man at the top of the food chain will continue to exploit those below him, an exploitation that the people may themselves accept in the name of change. Below the surface, the book acts as a perfect demonstration of how western socio-political models (democracy in particular) will not succeed in the vastly different lands of Africa, where the people still understand governance in tribal terms, terms that cannot be ...more
A gripping tale, with vividly described characters like the bootlicking Nwege, Edna's greedy, avaricious father, the absurdly hilarious chief Koko, and Odili's own proud, well known and widely hated Father, Hezekiah. This story chronicles the politics of African states, and it's eat-and-let-eat leaders. I read this book 11 years ago in school and I can probably remember it word for word, a must read for anyone seeking insight into the very nature of African state of affairs, from overnight infla ...more
Berkisah tentang Nigeria, yang bekas jajahan Inggris.

Odili adalah sarjana muda yang pernah kuliah di luar negeri dan merasa muak dengan politik di negerinya yang dikuasai para politikus berotak kosong. Ia pun menjadi guru di desa dan kemudian membentuk organisasi rakyat bersama temannya. Namun ternyata gaya hidup, bahasa dan ide-idenya sudah tak nyambung dengan masyarakat yang realistis dan sederhana.

Nanga, adalah politikus picik yang pernah bercita-cita berjuang untuk rakyat namun karena "kead
This is a great political satire and has one of the best last lines of any books I've ever read. (Some of the dialogue is in pidgin, which was a little confusing at times, but Brian helped me out with what he's learned at his lessons, and I used some Nigerian web sites, as well.)

A novel assigned for our post-colonial discussion; very sarcastic and has a very witty way of using pidgin to bastardize the English language. The post-colonial significance of this novel is very promising. The prose is somewhat dragging, though.
Elizabeth Oladunni
Satisfying read.

Achebe subtly highlights the plight of a post-independence Nigeria, whilst delivering a sharp rebuke on the apathetic nature of the people in their unwillingness to stand for change. This all brilliantly done through the eyes and narrative of a young man called Odili. He is by no means a perfect character, but the reader is left rooting for him throughout the book. Perhaps more poignantly, by portraying Odili as the only character who sees things as they are - but still maintain
What is amazing about Achebe is how simple and deep is his language. The novel addresses the theme of corruption in the post-colonial era and the tyrannic leaders or (the puppets of the colonial authority). LOved it!
Craig Fiebig
Read this in parallel with "The Fate of Africa" by Martin Meredith. What a great pairing of books. Achebe's fictional account of a thriving kleptocracy matched with Meredith's discussion of continent-wide incompetence is depressing in the extreme. And yet extremely informative. I strongly encourage all the read both, in parallel or not, as the lessons they contains to help us avoid modern false narratives are invaluable.

I'm not sure whether I gave Achebe 4 stars for over-user of often indeciphe
Caleb Bett
Great literature book...opens up to the societal challenges and what is really on the ground. Chinua Achebe
There is really no one that writes stories like Achebe. I find some of it hard to read and understand - but in that way he reminds me of Faulkner. (for me that is high praise)
Rushay Booysen
I love this novel.The writing seems so personal.I dont want to write a review just get a copy and delf into it
Felix Purat
Though I had been familiar with Chinua Achebe for awhile now, I had not made a conscious effort to read his books due to an unfortunate association I had developed between his work and cheesy people in first world countries who are incapable of looking at Africa through a lens that isn't labeled AIDS, Noble Savage, Nelson Mandela, corruption, elephants and other narrow stereotypes (and who are proud of believing in them). By chance, however, I stumbled across a free copy of this book, A Man of t ...more
Jack Kruse
Achebe's Man of the People Notes, Discussion and Summary from my For Unofficial Use Only Blog

This novel takes place in 1964 examines the institutions of Nigeria. Coming out of colonial times, the people have no sense of taxes or being taxed, especially the farmers (because the tax is just being wrapped into the purchase price). Originally published in 1966, during which there were two coups in Nigeria. The first coup ended the first republic. After these two coups Achebe went to Biafra to join t
africawrites  - The RAS' annual festival of African Literature
Achebe's fourth novel and the first not to be set in an explicitly Igbo context, A Man of the People, marked Achebe's second confrontation with the disillusionment many of his generation and class began to feel about post-colonial Africa's political leadership. As in his second novel, No Longer at Ease, the protagonist is a western-educated Africa in confrontation with the shortcomings of modern Africa. As always, in Achebe's work, the formality of the prose is nuanced, shaped by its context of ...more
Ashley Brickner
Honestly, this book started out slow and ended even slower. I'll admit that it became a little interesting in the middle, but then it became dull all over again. I was constantly falling asleep while I read this book, and I definitely did not enjoy the political elements the appeared so strongly in this book. Nigeria has issues that need to be solved, but this book made it seem as though the people were alright with their suffering. Obviously they are not.

The last two chapters especially were an
Even though I teach and love Things Fall Apart, I have been remiss in not reading any of Achebe's other novels. I'm glad I chose this one to read next. There is much of the subtle humor and sadness here. The characters seem so modern, yet so archetypal. As with TFA, Achebe seems to perfectly frame the complex conundrum of power that all nations--not just Nigerians--must face down in order to raise themselves up. This conundrum resonates in Abani's Graceland and in Adichie's Purple Hibiscus and H ...more
Uthpala Dassanayake
A Man of the People is the story of a young educate man ‘Odili’ in an unnamed country in Africa. He believes him to be a man of good moral values. Due to both political and personal reasons, he decides to get into active politics and fight against current government. But the society is corrupted from the top to the bottom. Odili come to understand that even common people do not want a ‘Peoples man’ as their candidate. “Everybody wants their piece of National Cake.” So how can he avoid being anot ...more
Jonathan Morrow
Very good portrayal of corrupt post-colonial politics, with themes that are still being played out all over the world today, but particularly in Africa. It's a pretty pessimistic book, but given the way events have unfolded since this book was written, it's hard to argue that Achebe had it wrong. The question is, how can this dynamic be changed?
A Man of the People is a delightful novel. It is humorous and also intense. There are two main characters, Chief Nanga and Odili. In the beginning the reader is introduced to the Chief as Odili perceives him in hindsight. Odili describes the corruption of the post colonial government and the overall anti intellectual attitude in his country. After personal betrayal Odili seeks revenge against Chief Nanga and becomes involved with politics. Towards the end of the novel Achebe describes how viole ...more
Chinua Achebe knows how to use words on paper.Like many other literary pieces from African writers politics ..corruption...betrayal remain the reccurrent themes.So is with this piece.It will leave you like being in a 'Nollywood' theatre.
Sheldon L
Superb account of post-modern and post-colonial politics. It's a sobering account of modern day politics and the helplessness of humans.

There were comical moments and moments where Achebe reveals the helplessness of masculinity and the importance of culture and respect.

Brilliant book!
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Chinua Achebe was a novelist, poet, professor at Brown University and critic. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely read book in modern African literature.

Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religion
More about Chinua Achebe...
Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1) No Longer at Ease (The African Trilogy, #2) Arrow of God (The African Trilogy #3) Anthills of the Savannah There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra

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