This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa's First Woman President
In January 2006, after the Republic of Liberia had been racked by fourteen years of brutal civil conflict, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Africa's "Iron Lady" was sworn in as president, an event that marked a tremendous turning point in the history of the West African nation.
In this stirring memoir, Sirleaf shares the inside story of her rise to power, including her early childhood...more
This is a hard review to write! I'm a little bit floored by this complicated, powerful woman. I am awed by what she has done with the adversity she overcame, and her simple but unshakeable commitment to sound, ethical governance. But I'm struck by her politi...more
Forbes lists Sirleaf, the 23rd president of Liberia and the first elected female president on the African continent, among the 100 Most Powerful Women in 2008. In and out of government, in and out of exile, but consistent in her commitment to Liberia, Sirleaf in her memoir reveals herself to be among the most resilient, determined and courageous as well. She writes with modesty in a calm and measured tone. While her account includes a happy childhood and an unhappy marria...more
I rated this 4 stars only because I was hoping for more of a personal account--something along the line of "Left to Tell" or "Life & Death in S...more
I learned so much about the history of Liberia. We have all heard about slaves returning to Africa and always assumed things worked out just fine. Her description of the colonial class and the...more
First - I learned a great deal about my own ignorance. It had never occurred to me, until reading the beginning of This Child Will be Great, that the African-Americans who settled in Liberia in the early nineteenth century were imperialists. My sense of what colonialism is (not unreasonably) tied to whiteness, particularly when I think about the development of the American natio...more
I definitely learned some things, and I think that kept it at 3 stars for me. I don't think I was aware of anything going on in Liberia, eve...more
As Ellen Johnson Sirle...more
So Liberia. If asked...more
Secondly, I felt sometimes that she was, perhaps entirely subconsciously, writing a propaganda manifesto. It wasn't blatant, or terribly...more
The fact hat she is the first woman to be Preisdent of Africa is a great accomplsihment in a Country that degrades women. She has the capacity to over come many obstalcles.
I did not like that fact that she was seperated for so many years from her children, all except one that was with her a great deal of the time.
The book is a history of Liberia during great turmoil and s...more
I recommend this to anyone, but particularly those who love reading about strong cha...more
Interestingly, she makes veiled comments about the impact of China on Africa -- it comes "at the right time" in the book, but I couldn't help but compare her brief comments on the future with what happened to Africa courtesy of the Europeans in the 18t...more
I haven't read many memoirs, so I don't have much to compare it to. In this case, Sirleaf's story reads more as a series of dry events that could be one long bulleted list. I wonder if this writing style is a reflection of her time spent in the business world, where that type of writing is more common than a sentimental style. Either way, as I reflect on all she has encountered, and what she has accomplished, it is apparent that she is quite the a...more
I did ex...more
Erin Aubry Kaplan
Review of This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President
By Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (with Kim McLarin)
The 2006 election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia’s first woman president—the first in all of Africa!—is one of the new uncontested bright spots in the turbulent recent history of that country. But personal triumph is not the point of this memoir, despite its title. Sirleaf instead narrates the fascinating but frequently d...more
She is now running for reelection. Can't yet find results.
The book was more a history of Liberia than a memoir. There is almost nothing of her personal life. While this was diappointing to me, it is indicative of her belief that leaders must sacrifice their personal ambitions to the good of the country. So she has perhaps "become" Liberia.