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Our Kind of People: A Continent's Challenge, A Country's Hope
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Our Kind of People: A Continent's Challenge, A Country's Hope

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  23 reviews
In 2005, Uzodinma Iweala stunned readers and critics alike with Beasts of No Nation, his debut novel about child soldiers in West Africa. Now his return to his native continent has produced Our Kind of People, a nonfiction account of the AIDS crisis that is every bit as startling and original.

Iweala embarks on a remarkable journey in his native Nigeria, meeting individuals
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Harper (first published May 1st 2012)
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3.63  · 
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Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The challenge with writing a medical ethnography is providing the right balance of statistical information and anecdotes/interviews that help put a face on the subject disease. Nigerian physician Uzodinma Iweala does just that with this book.

"Our Kind of People" examines the sub-Saharan Africa HIV/AIDS epidemic through the eyes of Iweala's countrymen. Not only does he interview physicians and other caregivers; he also interviews activists (some of whom are patients themselves), patients and fami
Michael Griswold
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Our Kind of People: A Continent's Challenge, A Country's Hope by Uzodinma Iweala is a brief, yet hard hitting look at how the AIDS crisis in Africa has specifically affected Nigeria.

The reader is introduced to persons who have the disease, have been widowed by the disease, and the brave souls who are seeking to counter the information gap between the reality of AIDS and misconceptions of the disease that spread throughout not just Nigeria, but the rest of the world, as well.

Some books on the AID
Kimberly Wilson
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The book covers the very subtle, yet very important aspect of humanity within the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Uzodinma Iweala accomplished what he set out to do - he has broadened my thinking about AIDS in Africia.
Amanda Zucoloto
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Fluid yet not necessarily engaging. Hardly original at the most.
Nicole Means
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
"AIDS is not my identity"--what a powerful reminder to stop defining an entire continent by an epidemic but rather to think of the people who live there. Uzodinma Iweala humanizes a continent that is often generalized as suffering from an epidemic. While the continent of Africa does have the highest rate of AIDS/HIV, it is not the single story of the entire continent. A story that is often omitted is that of the people left behind--who have to live with loss. Omitting the voices of the grieving ...more
Elliot Ratzman
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Nigerian ex-pat gives us a cultural tour of factors surrounding AIDS in Nigeria: the history, politics, patients, absurdities, economic and cultural barriers to treatment. Iweala is the author of “Beasts of No Nation,” but this is much lighter, if no less tragic, fare. Graft and corruption compromise the resources: Iweala and a doctor “wait for a government official Doc had invited to tour the clinic in hopes of convincing him to provide funds for its upkeep, possibly even an upgrade….He had inv ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What was once considered the disease of American gay men has morphed to color the world's opinions about sex and health on the entire continent if Africa. In "Our Kind of People" Uzodimna Iweala explores the impact of HIV/AIDS among the people of his home country – Nigeria.

Iweala weaves a story of Nigerians first resisting, but slowly becoming vocal about the ways HIV has impacted their friends, families, and selves and how Nigeria (along with other impacted nations) have begun moving toward pr
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this story and was so looking forward to reading it. But, although Iweala lends a wide lens into this world, his writing is lacking. It was hard to connect to the people in the stories he chose to tell, which was unfortunate.
Grace Bolin
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mind blowing the cultural impacts that are associated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. Loved this read.
Social  Good Moms
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
When it comes to HIV/AIDS on the African continent we, as Westerners, are often blinded by the ubiquitous stereotypes that permeate our perspectives and opinions about Africa. We then can only rely on the authentic and experienced voices of authors, reporters, and first-person stories from those who have lived and grown up on the continent. We have to rely on those who have committed themselves to setting the record straight about what it is like to be an African who has to face HIV/AIDS every d ...more
Morgan Dhu
Nov 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Uzodinma Iweala, the author of Our Kind of People, is a medical doctor and an award-winning novelist. Born in Nigeria, he is a graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and he continues to divide his time between his adopted country and his birth country. All of these things make him eminently qualified to tell the story of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and other parts of Africa from a, shall we say, post-colonial perspective. As he comments early in hi ...more
Aug 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Our Kind of People left me in a hard place when it came to this review. On the one hand, what it has to say about the ignorance of people who assume/believe that an HIV diagnosis is an automatic death sentence is important to hear. Many in Africa still hide from their family, friends and neighbors until they die because of the shame and the stigma. However, there are those who are proclaiming their positive status, hoping that others will begin to understand that knowledge is power, and that the ...more
Uzodinma Iwela wrote Beasts of No Nation a few years ago about child soldiers in West Africa, now he tackles AIDS. Iwela is both a resident of the United States and Nigeria where he was born. He received his Bachelor's at Harvard and an MD at Columbia. What he chose to do was write and hasxwon awards for both fiction and nonfiction. In Our Kind of People, Iweala travels Nigeria to talk about AIDS with people in all areas, urban and rural. He talks with men who practice polygamy and AIDS was intr ...more
Aug 25, 2012 rated it liked it
The author goes deeper to answer his own questions about the future of his homeland (Nigeria) and Africa concerning HIV/AIDS. I liked this personal look, and the vignettes the author creates from the people he meets- it offers a humanization on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. Interesting section on stigmas that can be applied to any source of poverty. My favorite quote comes right at the end, and leaves me feeling like I want to keep reading. I love how the author suggests that healing will beg ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Iweala set out to write a book about HIV/AIDS from a personal perspective with a focus on Nigeria. I think his goal wass partially accomplished. He offered a myriad of stories with adequate historical and medical background. But these stories were poorly executed and organized. Iweala moved from one subject to another without fully fleshing out each one. I found it hard to connectconnect with the subjects interviewed. I did however get a better understanding of how HIV/AIDS affects Nigerian live ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a troubling book....but a necessary read......I find this book very engrossing....I read many years ago "As the Band Played on" Randy Shiltz..I also have read other books on's complexities...the stigmas......the going back and forth of the disease causes and treatments and costs.....but this book is an exceptional in its scope....breadth..insight ..shockingness honesty.......I recommend it to be read by any health care provider......nurse...docters....nursing ass ...more
Fatima E.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I appreciated how accessible (language wise) that this book was. My favorite thing is the writers constant checking of himself as well as his awareness of the preconceived notions that he carries. It's all very honest and necessary. Some parts I had a hard time reading but I will chalk that up to my own ethnocentrism/personal feelings.
Matthew Fray
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
An affecting and well-written exploration of Aids in Africa (concentrating on Nigeria) which brings the individuals' stories to the fore and argues for a change in the way HIV, Aids and those who suffer it are perceived and treated but never slips into sentimentality or pity.
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, non-fiction
"I thought it great for anyone who recognizes the giant gap that exists within our first world perceptions and the reality of life. "
read more:
Adam Hummel
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books (if not the best) I've ever read about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: africa, non-fiction
This book was OK but I didn't feel it really added anything new to the AIDS-in-Africa discussion.
This review can be found at or as part of the Vine Program.

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