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

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  3,247 ratings  ·  395 reviews
In a time of death and terror, Leymah Gbowee brought Liberia's women together--and together they led a nation to peace. As a young woman, Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn h ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Beast Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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4.14  · 
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 ·  3,247 ratings  ·  395 reviews


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Amanda Konnik
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Clif Hostetler
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca Lunny
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Amy Moritz
May 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Patti
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the story of not only how a nation at war was changed but more basically it is the detailed story of the events in one woman's life which led her to that time and place where she could gather with and lead those women who made that change. Leymah gives a very detailed description of the events and phases in her life and doesn't gloss over the parts she regrets or those that were difficult. Not that it was ever easy but she had a support system to raise her children while she was becoming ...more
Dimitris
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
It was a good read. And a much more informative to the facts of the Liberian war than I expected.

Too much violence, too much fucking disgusting reporters interviewing women and if you weren't raped during the war then they weren't interesting in finding out how was your life until the war ended. Like.. really?!...

Laymah's story is a testament to human strength and the incredible power of peace. She achieved so much and made so many believe that they can stop this war that it's just unbelievable
...more
Kate
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Bailey
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Amy Robertson
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any adult
Recommended to Amy by: Goodreads
I have another female role model. Leymah has given me more examples of the diverse forms that strength and courage can take.
Ayesha
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kimberly
A couple of weeks ago I was at the library and I just so happened to stumble across Mighty Be Our Powers sitting there on the shelf. Many of you know that I'm attempting to read more non-fiction this year and that I'm participating in an Around the World reading challenge in the Goodreads.com group Around the World (In 52 Books). I didn't complete my challenge last year but I'm planning to this year so when I saw that this book was set in Liberia I knew this would be my read for that country.

I'l
...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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Don
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Joanna
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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
KrisTina
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
It's embarrassing and really pretty inexcusable that I knew absolutely nothing about the Liberian peace effort before reading this book. I am continually amazed when I read these books (Half The Sky being the best) about how much bigger the world is than my own personal bubble. My amazement continues when I learn about these women that make a difference. This is an inspiring memoir.

That being said - the way it was written was a bit confusing - she would go back and forth in time - she would call
...more
Scout
Nov 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 Mock
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nicole
This is not a traditional war story. It is about an army of women in white standing up when no 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.
viii

I read this while moving, with kids, and traveli
...more
Prayerpilgrim
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
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Peacemakers 2 15 Oct 01, 2014 12:15PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect author name etc. 2 10 Jul 12, 2014 06:06AM  
Great African Reads: Finalist for Dayton Literary Peace Prize | 2012 1 10 Aug 24, 2012 08:37AM  

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23 followers
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
“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.” 86 likes
“Organizations like the UN do a lot of good, but there are certain basic realities they never seem to grasp ...Maybe the most important truth that eludes these organizations is that it's insulting when outsiders come in and tell a traumatized people what it will take for them to heal.
You cannot go to another country and make a plan for it. The cultural context is so different from what you know that you will not understand much of what you see. I would never come to the US and claim to understand what's going on, even in the African American culture. People who have lived through a terrible conflict may be hungry and desperate, but they are not stupid. They often have very good ideas about how peace can evolve, and they need to be asked.
That includes women. Most especially women ...
To outsiders like the UN, these soldiers were a problem to be managed. But they were our children.”
23 likes
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