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Anthills of the Savannah
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Anthills of the Savannah

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  1,872 ratings  ·  95 reviews
In the fictional West African nation Kangan, newly independent of British rule, the hopes and dreams of democracy have been quashed by a fierce military dictatorship. Chris Oriko is a member of the cabinet of the president for life, one of his oldest friends. When the president is charged with censoring the oppositionist editor of the state-run newspaper—another childhood ...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published 1988 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (first published January 1st 1987)
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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
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
Ben Dutton
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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
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.
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
Curtis Westman
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
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
while reading The Anthills of the Savannah, i so often see myself in tears. Chinua Achebe is really good at portraying the coups and counter coups that have been and continuing to occur in Africa.
it is too treble to see that Sam, the head of state is a good listener to liars and he use their information to butcher the best minister he has in his government.
i cannot stand to hear the brutal killing of Ikem, a renown editor of the national gazette. the killers do not believe that elimination of th
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
Isla McKetta
I don't have enough good things to say about this book and the view inside of an African dictatorship that it provided me. Achebe's death made me question my reading habits and I'm so glad I finally opened this book.
Vinicius Ribeiro
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
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.
Read this during my honeymoon and quite enjoyed it. I have to admit the sudden changing of POV's throughout the novel, does throw the reader a bit at times, but one quickly adjusts. The setting of an autocratic government post-military coup is one that remains extremely relevant today, even though the book was written so long ago. It was recommended to me by a English professor of Pakistani origin, as he felt the story related so well to his native country. Overall, a poignant, sobering meditati ...more
Had I not read this in class, I doubt I would have understood anything. I don't think that chalks up entirely to lack of analytical skills - rather, this is simply a very difficult book to read. You are thrust in the midst of a meeting, in a first-person perspective, barely comprehending what's going on, until you go to the next chapter, which has an entirely different point of view. Needless to say, that put me off. We have 3 different character perspectives, sometimes in first, sometimes in th ...more
Michael Scott
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
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
May 03, 2008 rabbitprincess rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
Admittedly, Achebe confounds me with his magical realism a la Africa style. I just don't get it sometimes, and this was true in several parts of this story. This is one of the titles for my Global Dystopian Fiction Book Group. The dystopian aspect of this one is a bit sketchy--military dictatorship in an Afican country that has recently thrown off its colonial shackles---isn't that realism??? Anyhow, three friends are affected, as one becomes the dictator, one a member of his cabinet, and the ot ...more
I am an up/down reviewer; I say read. Terrific novel. Not only does it tell a thrilling political story with solid characters, but it's one that is emblematic of modern Sub-Saharan Africa. When I think of all the misery that has happened after the publication of this novel, it's a little sad to see that the hope Achebe offers the reader at the end hasn't yet been truly realized. In addition to the marvelous story is Achebe's innovative use of profiling different characters and narrative structur ...more
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
Dora Okeyo
As a fan of Chinua's works- I'd say that this book was one of the most difficult reads.

It starts with a meeting where you are introduced to the narrator, and the president and his cabinet.
Everyone is out to achieve their own selfish needs, and it is true of the leadership in Africa, even to date.

I cannot do justice to this book by writing the perfect review- but it's well written.

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
Kelly Barry
3 and 1/2 stars. The story felt unfocused to me, but I genuinely loved the characters and the writing in this was just beautiful. I've heard that this is not Chinua Achebe's best (in fact the internet seems to confirm it isn't). If so, I need to read more from this guy because this was just wonderful.
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
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
The story of some cabinet leaders to the president-for-life of the fictional west African state of Kangan written by the Nigerian author of *Things Fall Apart*. Gives a personal side to the struggles of leadership, especially in Africa.
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
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
Anthills of the Savannah is a great novel. it's the best narrative I have ever read. It's the story of three friends, Chris,Sam, and Ikem,who become the leaders of the imaginary state, kangan (Nigeria). The novel illustrates the troubles of postcolonial Africa and proposes alternatives. Significantly, Achebe gives new roles to the African woman to play in society, unlike his former novels especially Things Fall Apart. He believes that the inclusion of women in public sphere would foster the prog ...more
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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) A Man of the People There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra

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