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It's Our Turn to Eat
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It's Our Turn to Eat

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,181 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews

"A fast-paced political thriller.... Wrong's gripping, thoughtful book stands as both a tribute to Githongo's courage and a cautionary tale." —New York Times Book Review

“On one level, It’s Our Turn to Eat reads like a John Le Carré novel.... On a deeper and much richer level, the book is an analysis of how and why Kenya descended into political violence.” — Washington Pos

Kindle Edition, 372 pages
Published (first published February 19th 2009)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) You might actually read the book and find out. And do your own homework. It's not like they won't know you didn't read it.
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Moses Kilolo
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Speaking of my own country, there goes a lot I know only in skimpy details. Thanks to this book, I delved into a deeper understanding of stuff I used to see in the news (and let pass disinterestedly) when I was in High School. Grand corruption has happened in Kenya, and still happens. And to my understanding, we need many more guys like Githongo! Let whistles be blown. Let the ordinary citizen see the government, and those politicians for what they are. But, not to sound too pessimistic, I often ...more
Apr 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is unofficially banned in Kenya (which means no book-store will dare to stock it) -- but its gained quite an underground following -- I have found it on sale on the streets, being sold at a profitable premium by newspaper vendors.

Rather than being a tell-all book about a corruption scandal - the book goes into some length about the nature of corruption in Kenya. Tribal identity and loyalty to clans -- and a culture of impunity are brought out very well in this biographical work.

Few peo
Frank Stein
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The central story of this book is fascinating. It concerns the travails of John Githongo, the Kenyan Governance and Ethics Secretary, who in 2004 fled his country in fear for his life when he outed an intricate government kickback scandal known as Anglo Leasing. British journalist Michela Wrong is uniquely suited to tell his story because Githongo hid in her house during his surreptitious sojourn in London. There, while being trailed by Kenyan intelligence, he transcribed the conversations he se ...more
Sorin Hadârcă
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
A fascinating story of a man that was naïve enough to believe he can bring down corrupion in Kenya and succeeded if only in setting up a precedent that will win in the long run. And another good one from Michela Wrong.
Nov 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I would like to give this book a higher rating, because I actually quite enjoyed it, but it has some definite shortcomings. The greatest of these shortcomings is it's lack of a unifying thought. The author can't seem to decide if this is a book about John Githongo, or more generally about the Anglo Leasing scandal, or even more generally a history of corruption (and it's influence) in Kenya. This is perhaps most obvious in the last chapters of the book, where she tries to tack on a brief recount ...more
Mar 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, kenya
If you have any interest in Kenya, or how corruption works in Africa, or how aid agencies can exacerbate corruption, READ THIS BOOK. Wrong is a careful, clear writer who pulls no punches. Nobody comes across as a hero here, but in telling the story of John Githongo, who exposed a huge corruption scandal within the Kenyan govt. to the world, Wrong manages to be both pragmatic and hopeful. I found myself not only nodding but exclaiming out loud in agreement, as well as wincing at times at the mirr ...more
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Once again Michela Wrong's journalistic impressionism and meticulous reporting lights up a neglected corner of a neglected continent. Wrong is a writer with incredible sources and she knows how to weld their information into a compelling story.

The book centers on John Githongo, an idealist in a world where pragmatism ruled. He was appointed as the head of a new anti-corruption agency created by Mwai Kibaki, newly elected president of Kenya. Kibaki was only the third Chief Executive of the east
Holly Morrow
I loved Michela Wrong's book on Mobutu (In The Footsteps Of Mr Kurtz) and generally like books by journalists; I think because I have a short attention span and get impatient with long descriptive passages that don't drive the narrative or communicate information. But thats another story. This story, narrowly, is about John Githongo, who was brought in by the Kibaki government in Kenya to be the anti-corruption czar, but ended up doing his job a little TOO well. He ultimately fled to London and ...more
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes reading a book about a place when you have local bias does not add any marks to the book. Michela does a fantastic job of dissecting the problem of graft in Kenya but with some very broad strokes. Written as an historic account of inequality and injustice, the book does more to report on the general nature of corruption in Kenya than naming any specifics or creating any form of hypotheses or inference. It's sometimes hard to keep up with the unwinding and undulating story however as wh ...more
Aug 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty fascinating, and discouraging, stuff: a Kenyan whistleblower finds out that the new reformist government is doing exactly what the old one did (the title refers to a general sense that each tribe is just waiting its turn at the trough when friendly politicians get into office), and very few people (foreign governments, the World Bank, people in the government) care for more than a few days. And then the whole thing erupts into violence when the government tries to keep its hand in by stea ...more
J'pkorir Rose
It was a good read indeed, largely about the history of corruption/root of social injustices in Kenya than the story of a Kenyan whistle blower.
It is written for an audience outside Kenya or the Kenyan generation born from the mid 1990s. There isn't much for someone who witnessed the Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki and now Uhuru presidency. I was jazzed by John Githongo...not an easy thing to do but he did it and has possibly inspired change in one way or another.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an interesting and a sad reflection on the problems in Africa, dealing in this instance mainly with Kenya. The western world would appear to be more than happy to appease its conscience giving billions of dollars in aid to African countries. Whether these donations actually reach grass roots level is a debatable point. A rather sad indictment of the endemic corruption so prevalent in many governments and so called charitable institutions, not just in Africa.
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Explore the dark belly of development funds, government corruption and what it takes to be a high stakes whistleblower. While this book is focused on Kenya, it’s really a highly illustrative condemnation of a rot that can be found in many other countries. A fascinating book, it reads like a thriller. I highly recommend it.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m a mutt among my peers—a touch of German, a little Scottish, some Native American—but my heritage is basically irrelevant when I mingle with a mix of people from other backgrounds. But in many parts of the world, ethnic and tribal lines are still being drawn, and they’re taking entire countries down as a result.

Michela Wrong’s book, It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower, is as much about tribalism as it is on calling out the corrupt. In fact, it’s due to the deep-seeded t
Fred Dameron
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Interesting read about a part of the world I'm not familiar with. It does go to my idea that westerner's, do-gooders, and all of us who want to help, we need to educate ourselves about where our money/time is going. In this read Wrong tells how aid for Kenya was misused, grafted, and flat out stolen to line the pockets of the ruling tribe. Eating in Kenya is a metaphor for collecting graft. She also points out how the problem of graft is increased by the west trying to help Africa lift it's s ...more
Marianne Murray
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The focus of the book is the story of John Kithongo who, after being appointed anti-corruption czar in Kibaki's government found himself facing an untenable ongoing legacy of self-interest and corrupt practices within the new regime, eventually becoming a 'whistle blower'. Behind this story, Wrong offers a far-reaching overview of Kenyan politics, tribal loyalties, and the country's relationship with global NGOs, World Bank and other aid organizations. Another brilliant resource for understandin ...more
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Very well written, almost like a spy thriller, but not fictional, focussing on the fallback onto corrupt ridden practices in Kenya after the 2002 elections, when the newly elected Kibaki promised the eradication of corruption as a way of life. Shortly after, the former head of Transparency international, John Githongo, was installed as the country's anti-corruption czar, only to escape to London and go into hiding in 2005.

Interestingly, Githongo went back to Kenya some years later and started r
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some stories need telling - it's just a fact of life. To engender change, people must make a stand and the message of that stand must be shared.
It's the way it's always been, and the way it should be.
If that story can be told well, then - hey - that's a bonus...
With It's Our Turn To Eat, Michela Wrong gets it half right.
The story should pretty much write itself - new Kenyan government sweeps in, promises to rid the country of corruption, and over time just changes who is being corrupt.
Only this
Rafael Batista
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
This book is excellent. I started reading it when I first moved to Kenya. The book provides a historical narrative alongside the main story that neatly parallels the reality in the ground. It's an entertaining read. Giving it 4 stars because just after half-way I reached a section of the book where I simply lost interest so I never finished it.
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, esp to learn a/b Kenya &/or West. foreign aid policy
Recommended to E by: Bookseller Magazine
Shelves: favorites
To paraphrase a review I read elsewhere, "It's Our Turn To Eat" reads almost like a quick-paced spy novel. However, that shouldn't be counted against it--readability does nothing to diminish the quality of the either of the writing or the research behind the book.

"It's Our Turn To Eat" goes above and beyond the typical biography by combining political and sociological analysis, history, gossip and scandal together with interviews with John Githongo and other key inter/national players to form a
Debs Carey
I'd like to give this four stars, but it lost me when the focus moved from John Gothingo to a more broad telling of life in Kenya between Gothingo's departure and the 2007 election. Nevertheless, its a fascinating read, chock-full of background information and one which provided me with a picure of Kenya I'd never realised existed. Despite having lived in West Africa for 6 years, I never saw Kenya as being one of 'those' countries that suffered as did others on the same continent. I'm not so nai ...more
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stonking good story, rather well told by a journalist who specialises in Africa and knows a thing or two about corruption in the developing world. This is the story of John Githongo, the Kenyan whistleblower who alerted the world to massive and rampant corruption at the very top of the Kenyan government in 2006 - in the process secretly tape recording the Kenyan president and various slimy government ministers conspiring to rob their own people of several bazillion dollars in kickbacks, fake def ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
There was a mention of Anglo Leasing in the news a couple of weeks ago. I asked my (Kenyan) husband what it was, and he couldn't tell me anything other than some kind of scandal involving high profile politicians. I decided it was time to take this one off my "to read" list.

I found it very well written. The book breezes through a ton of information in quick succession, leaving my mind reeling and needing to process. The main story line covers the 2002 Kenyan elections through the aftermath of t
Mar 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was banned in Kenya and John Githongo was labeled a traitor. Radio stations responded by holding week long competitions, where callers could win a copy of the book every hour, on the hour. Street Hawkers made a killing, selling copies of the book in traffic jams (in full view of the authorities) and on the streets. College students downloaded and distributed e-copies of the book within their social networks. I mean, the ban was a great campaign for the book!
(It is also a sign of progre
Sep 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting look at politics, corruption and ethnicity in Kenya. Living in West Africa, much of what the book portrays rings true in so many other African countries. It is nice to learn of the brave individuals who take on the powers that be to try to combat these types of things. But as noted in the book, a few brave individuals is not enough to take down something that is so endemic in the institutions and mentality of a society. While this book is about John Githongo as a whistle- ...more
Moira Kloster
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently this book is very hot in East Africa right now. It's the inside story of John Githongo, who was appointed as "anti-corruption czar" in the government of Mwai Kibaki, promising a new and honest regime after the long corruption of Kenya by Moi and his inner circle. But within months, the cycle of corruption had begun again with different players. The book resists any assumptions about individuals or power. It traces patterns of misbehaviour and corruption all the way back into Kenya's e ...more
Jan 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was such a good read. michela wrong is an excellent writer, accessible and conversational, which i think is the best way to get stories like this out to the public.

from the beginning i was wrapped up in john githongo's story of whistle-blowing on the kenyan government. i learned a lot about kenya and how its colonial history drew strong ethnic lines that continue to define the country today. the attitudes of us vs them only serve to prevent the country from uniting and moving forward w
Sally Seymore
This was quite a heavy book to work through, not because of the author, rather because the topic and contents are difficult to digest. Too me, it shows that corruption will always be part of Africa; but then it is part of our world. Africans also cannot be entirely blamed for their own situation because the West is so scared of losing a foothold in Africa that it keeps on giving. It is like having a drug addict child who you keep on supplying; he will never get off the drugs because he doesn't h ...more
Dec 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting insider perspective on political graft in Africa told firsthand through the story of Kenya's anti-graft deputy who became a whistleblower, exposing a huge government scandal. Learning about the mechanism and politics of how corruption takes place was interesting. It was also enlightening to see the massive hype and press surrounding the scandal dissipate over time and having things roughly return back to normal after the spotlight went away. There's also a good account of the poli ...more
Camille Cusumano
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, journalism
I devoured this book on my trip to Nairobi, Kenya last year (2011) at Christmas time. I learned so much about the Kenyans between meeting them in the slums and poor areas of Nairobi, and Wrong's superbly researched and written book about a whistle blower. "It's Our Turn to Eat" unfortunately does not refer to the unified voice Africans (as I had thought) against the outside exploiters, but rather to the exact opposite - to the tribalism (subversively nurtured by our corporate/political strongmen ...more
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Half-Italian, half-British, Michela Wrong was born in 1961. She grew up in London and took a degree in Philosophy and Social Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge and a diploma in journalism at Cardiff.

She joined Reuters news agency in the early 1980s and was posted as a foreign correspondent to Italy, France and Ivory Coast. She became a freelance journalist in 1994, when she moved to then-Zaire a
More about Michela Wrong...