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Archived | Regional Books 2018 > July/Aug 2018 | Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai SPOILERS ALLOWED

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message 1: by Anetq, Tour Operator & Guide (new)

Anetq | 796 comments Mod
This thread is for discussions of our July/Aug 2018 read of Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai - Notice that there may be SPOILERS (there is a thread with NO spoilers too) - so feel free to discuss anything you like about the book: Here's a few questions to get you started:
How did you like the characters? The plot? The style? The portrayal of characters and their surroundings?

message 2: by Tinea, Nonfiction Logistician (last edited Jun 04, 2018 07:59AM) (new)

Tinea (pist) | 422 comments Mod
We read this book together in this group way back in 2012. The book inspired a lot of reflection and some debate.

I LOVED this book. I think Maathai's story and her general life choices just floored me and continue to inspire and re-orient me to this day. My review is here.

She was an incredibly courageous democracy and land rights activist who used trees as a symbolic and tactical weapon to defend people's land from corporate and government land grabs, as a way to bring witness to ethnic violence, and as a weapon of attack to force the Kenyan government to release victims of torture and disappearances. Maathai was a trained biologist, so her choice of trees was both scientific and symbolic; planting diverse native trees combats environmental injustices and hunger from drought, soil erosion, and climate change caused by deforestation; trees are a long-term method to solidly plant something tangible on the land that she and her fellow activists and farmers used their bodies to defend.

Glad to come back to this life story.

message 3: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 846 comments Mod
I just finished the book and I am happy that I have read it. It was tremendously inspiring to learn about the multiple struggles of this wonderful woman and about her Green Belt Movement. Tinea, I understand and share your enthousiasm for her life story.

Nevertheless, I did not like the first chapters giving an simplified, idealized and clearly wrong image of precolonial Africa. At times, her self-congratulatory style (but how to avoid it in an autobiography?) also disturbed me. My review is here.

Afterwards, I read the 2012 discussion, and I am relieved that I my impression of her depiction of early history (the noble savage) was shared by others.

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