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Anthills of the Savannah

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  2,673 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
Chris, Ikem and Beatrice are like-minded friends working under the military regime of His Excellency, the Sandhurst-educated President of Kangan. In the pressurized atmosphere of oppression and intimidation they are simply trying to live and love - and remain friends. But in a world where each day brings a new betrayal, hope is hard to cling on to. Anthills of the Savannah ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 29th 2012 by Penguin (first published January 1st 1987)
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Community Reviews

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Araz Goran

تشنوا آشيبي - كثبان النمل في السافانا

رواية لابد أن تُصيب القارئ بالتخمة.. دسمة، صعبة، شائكة مكتوبة بقلم أديب يجيد رسم أفكاره وأحداث روايته بصورة متناسقة، لا تخلو من صعوبة بالتأكيد ليست من الروايات التقليدية ، تختزل الواقع الأفريقي في رواية واحدة .. أفريقيا بعد الإحتلال حيث ينكمش الوضع السياسي ليتحول حكم الدولة والأرض إلى فئة محدودة، وضعت الحجر الأساس لـ دكتاتوريات وجدت بيئة خصبة لها بعد مغادرة الرجل الأبيض..

رواية تحكي عن الصراع السياسي والتقلبات المفاجئة في هرم السلطة والعلاقة بين الشعب والزعم
Ben Dutton
Oct 27, 2008 Ben Dutton rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 18, 2012 Cheryl rated it liked it
Three childhood friends ascend to leadership within their country and the book centers around greed and power lust, showcasing socio-economic issues and governmental corruption in some part of Africa (though the country is fictionalized), as well as what exiles must go through (or rather how hard it is to speak out against a not-so-democratic government and then attempt an escape from your homeland).

Somehow I feel as if I've committed a crime by rating an Achebe book like this--big Chinua Acheb
Apr 03, 2013 Jen rated it it was ok
I gave this book a low rating because 1) it was a bit of a let down after Things Fall Apart, and 2)it was way over my head. This book was surprisingly hard to read. I'm ashamed to say that I need someone to walk me through this book, our high school English teachers used to do. There was a message there, I know, but whatever it was I didn't fully grasp it. I felt that I might have been missing some vital clues in the pidgin dialogue that was oftentimes too hard to follow. The lack of chronology ...more
Oct 25, 2009 Jen rated it did not like it
Painfully boring story of politics in Africa. If it had not been written like a newspaper article, if there had been some effort toward characterization or coherent plot, or explanation of the history of the circumstances described, I still would probably have disliked this book. Much time passed before I could make myself knock off the final 20 pages, not a good sign.
Story of friends who become entrenched in politics, end up double-crossing each other and fleeing from the one of them who gaine
Jun 11, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic book by Chinua Achebe. The novel details the events leading up to a military coup from the perspective of the president's (dictator's) inner circle of college friends. The strong main female character is almost like an apology from Achebe for leaving women out of Things Fall Apart. This is a fantastic read that picks up after the first 40 pages or so.

As people who live in the U.S. we have a unique sense of political stability that we often take for granted, and this novel is a
Dec 29, 2008 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One thing I like about this novel is Achebe's use of creole forms. It's probably the first novel I read with extensive use of "non-standard" English, and I remember finding it a little difficult at first. I also found it intriguing, though, and that interest persists. Standards in language are overrated.
Curtis Westman
May 07, 2009 Curtis Westman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
The landscape of Abazon is dry -- a parched, sun-bleached Kangan desert pockmarked by anthills. After two years without rain or aid from Bassa, the seat of power, six elders have come to the city to petition the President for help.

In his fictional African nation, Chinua Achebe presents a notion of faltering government from within and without. From the perspectives of a government Commissioner (Chris), the Editor in Chief of the national newspaper (Ikem) and the woman important to them both (Bea
Sep 12, 2016 Julas rated it it was ok
This is a curious one -- it begins so intriguingly like the best of political satires, and ends as a bundle of cliches and unambiguous ambiguities. In short, it chronicles the decay of "Sam", a dictator of a fictional West African country, his sanity, and his military dictatorship. The whole of it, like much of Achebe's work, mirrors and comments on the works of Joseph Conrad -- I'd say this one is a mirror of Lord Jim. All of the male characters are Lord Jim -- they are Romantic, Intellectual, ...more
Anthills of Savannah is a story of a nation facing the political conundrum of a new found independence. After years of ruling, it is expected that a country finds itself unable to take charge of a freedom, which it severely struggled to obtain. It is almost like you wait for exams to get over and when they are finally over you do not know how to manage the free time since you have been so focused on seeing them through that your head is heavily blocked up with that.
Achebe describes this confusio
Mar 08, 2013 Ivy rated it liked it
I feel like this was a really great book for someone who is not me. I had a difficult time following a lot of the action--he switches POVs frequently--and the dialogue, much of which is in a pigeon dialect that has a fantastic effect but I found almost impossible to understand. The story itself is gripping, but distant. The book is more concerned with making a philosophical point than in telling a yarn.

This was a barb thrown at the heart of post-colonial Africa. Unfortunately, I was not familiar
Tineke Dijkstra
I read this translation parallel to the original. I gave the original three stars, therefore I give this one two. The translation was not my style: too 'distant'/formal, the intended reader must be someone completely different from myself.

I will be writing a review of this translation for the Dutch platform Stemmen van Afrika; a link will follow.
Jan 14, 2015 Dirk-Heine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
Great. Achebe does a very good job at describing the internal struggles of an authoritarian regime, but he also develops very attractive and interesting characters while doing so.
Feb 15, 2011 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
Achebe proves yet again that traditional tribal beliefs have a place in African modernity. A tragic, yet beautiful story of the effects of power in postcolonial Africa.
Apr 04, 2010 Beatles24 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books from Africa that I have read in a long while. This is a thinly veiled commentary on Nigeria today. The storyline is reflective of Africa's prevailing political ethos: A seemingly benevolent dictator takes over from an unbiasedly corrupt "democracy"; the dictator decides to stay in power "only till conditions are restored for democracy"; people are exploited; the ruling class is full of sycophantic country brutes; intellectual opposition is snuffed out (literally) surreptiti ...more
Oct 08, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
Drie jeugdvrienden worden invloedrijke personen in een fictief Afrikaans land. Chris is de Commissaris van Informatie in het kabinet van zijn jeugdvriend Zijne Excellentie, zijn vriend Ikem is de behoorlijk onafhankelijke hoofdredacteur van de nationale krant. Zijne Excellentie voelt zich steeds ongemakkelijker bij zijn jeugdvrienden en zijn blikveld verwijdert zich steeds verder van de realiteit. En dat betekent dat zijn jeugdvrienden steeds bedreigender voor hem worden en eigenlijk moeten verd ...more
Michael Scott
Jun 02, 2009 Michael Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Anthills of the Savannah presents the establishment and subsequent fall of a tyrannic (yet legal) regime in the fictitious country of Kangan. Having read Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Arrow of Gods, I was already aware of his storytelling mastery. With Anthills of the Savannah I was very curious how storytelling can meet the topic of ruthless politics. First, snappy anecdotes describe the birth of a tyrant, the struggle between humanity and power, and the depredation of a people. Second, ...more
Aug 29, 2013 Val rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-extra, bookers
Things Fall Apart is Chinua Achebe's novel about the coming of colonialism. This is his book about a newly independent country trying to found and find itself and is, perhaps, even better.
A military coup has overthrown the civilian government and the military leader is becoming more dictatorial, especially when dealing with any hints of unrest or protest. It is not clear whether this military leader is based on any one particular historical figure, or whether the pattern shows a generic tendency
Apr 26, 2008 rabbitprincess rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who've already read some of Achebe's work
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: English prof
This was the second book studied in our World Literatures in English class. It had a tough act to follow; our first book was the most excellent Green Grass, Running Water.

Anthills takes place in a fictional African country, Kangan, after it has gained independence from Britain. It centres on three figures: Sam, the dictator of Kangan; the newspaper editor guy whose name I can't remember right this second; and Chris, the Minister for Information. The story chronicles Sam's dictatorship, circumsta
Nov 22, 2015 Owain rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a brilliant book. It has its moments but I found it dragged a lot despite being, objectively, quite a lightweight book. I found the plot a little muddled and it didn't seem to ever head in a very clear direction. The finale is definitely very underwhelming.

The book did have some moments of comedy, I think my most favourite quote is one of the quotes about when one of the government ministers was studying in Britain,

"During my first year in Britain I saw Welsh Rarebit on the menu one
Dec 08, 2009 LeAnna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I went ahead and finished this book, even though I wasn't really enjoying it. I don't usually do that, but because it was small enough and concerned with real-life Africa, I thought I would give it a chance. I just couldn't really latch on to the style, I guess. Also, I think I'm not familiar enough with post-colonial Africa for it to make a lot of sense to me. The parts written in dialiect were really difficult to understand, and I think there is probably a lot of symbolic meaning throughout th ...more
Vinicius Ribeiro
Sep 10, 2014 Vinicius Ribeiro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-tales
Conformism is probably the best word to describe Chris’s behavior towards Sam—the dictator who puts himself before the nation. When Chris agrees to be a part of Sam’s commission as the Minister of Information, he was not alert to what awaited, and could hardly have predicted the riskiness in this “strange and poisonous” game, as Achebe describes it (p. 2). But it was already too late for Chris to resign his post. Staying around was the only way to guarantee his survival and find out which direct ...more
africawrites  - The RAS' annual festival of African Literature
Set in the fictional West African country of Kangan soon after a military coup, Anthills of the Savannah is Achebe's great literary satire of his own Nigeria. The novel centres around the lives of 3 friends - Chris,Beatrice and Ikem - who are all, in one form or another, dissident voices under the new military regime. Eventually the new Sandhurst-trained ruler Sam toppled, and Chris (the government's commissioner for information)is also killed. Whilst not as famous as Achebe's first novel 'Thing ...more
Oct 22, 2007 Nana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ok, i'll rarely admit to this: i couldn't finish this book. perhaps one day i'll pick up where i left off, but for now, back on the shelf it goes. i adore chinua achebe. i wanted to adore this book with the same fervor as "things fall apart," but, even when i do complete it, i don't think that will happen. i can't claim a scholarly knowledge of his work, so i can't say this is his best or worst; he took an interesting angle writing this one--a more complicated angle, and a strange writing style ...more
I wanted to like this book more than I did. 'Things Fall Apart' is one of my absolute favourite books so I was looking forward to this read.

The story is a slow burn. It took until about 3/4 of the way through the book before any level of tension began to build, although when it did, the story became quite engaging, particularly with regards to Ikem's rabble-rousing.

I didn't dislike this book; it had a lot to reveal about the problems facing post-colonial African societies. Yet I didn't particul
Jul 24, 2013 Lesliemae rated it liked it
Political positions, epistemologies and ontologies in a newly instituted military state. We follow the stories mainly of two writers (a journalist - and his English grad girlfriend - and a poet) who were friends in a prestigious colonial school and their rise to governmental malaise as media-writers with their militia-man classmate. As "His Excellency's" wishes are disseminated through his state sanctioned media, paranoia, and downfall.

It's interesting how story is taken up in this book, and nee
Nov 24, 2009 John rated it really liked it
The gallows humor in this novel verges on hilarity at times, but you know from the beginning that life is not going to be pleasant from now on for the tightly-knit group of friends who are its main characters. They are living in -- and are minor officials of -- a military dictatorship run by another of their old friends. Personal paranoia and vendettas masquerade as politics in the claustrophobic world of the elite in an impoverished African country, where all the bigshots know each other and wh ...more
Feb 18, 2013 Sareene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book looking at the "postcolonial" condition. Achebe uses a fictional country, but, really, it could be any nation who finds itself free for the first time in a century or two and is trying to figure out how to rule itself. Human nature is bound to get in the way: greed, the thirst for power, and the obligation to rebel against tyranny. At times it seems that the Western reader is pushed out through the use of pidgin, but I do think that this book, more than the story of Africa, is a sto ...more
Feb 24, 2012 George rated it it was ok
An interesting read about contemporary, post-colonial African politics. The story is set in the fictional country of Kangan, and revolves around political unsteadiness + corruption and the emotional connection between a small cluster of people, some very important in the government of the country and others that are just normal folk. Decent plot, well-written and accessible, and something that I wouldn't normally choose to read. I don't think that I'll rush to get another Achebe novel but I'm gl ...more
Bram Peeters
Jun 14, 2016 Bram Peeters rated it it was amazing
It took some time to get past the first 20 pages, but I found this a very good read. The language isn't trivial, the story is dense and has enough thriller quality as well as social/political commentary to make it both entertaining and thought provoking. And it feels real, which isn't a given for a story about a West-African dictator-in-the-making.

So yes, I do understand why it ends up on lists of great modern novels and I'd say it is a must-read for anyone who cares about the world and good bo
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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
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“While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.” 709 likes
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