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

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Overview

WINNER OF THE 2011 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

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, Leymah 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. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a ...

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

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Overview

WINNER OF THE 2011 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

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, Leymah 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. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Leymah Gbowee thought that she was the wrong person for the job, but that there was no other person to do it. The impulse had come to this young Liberian woman in a dream in which she was told to get women to pray for peace. In the midst of a 14-year civil war that seemed like a modest self-assignment, but Gbowee's relentless persistence transformed these private Christian and Muslim missives into a nationwide peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003, leading to the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female president. In this singular memoir, she describes how sisterhood, prayer, protest, and even a sex strike helped achieve what negotiators could not. An unconventional, empowering feminist statement.

From the Publisher

Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
“…a beautifully written narrative.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, 1984
Mighty Be Our Powers reminds us that even in the worst of times, humanity’s best can shine through.”
 
Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook:
“One of the most inspirational and powerful books I’ve ever read. The story of one woman’s struggle against the worst and what she can teach all of us about finding the courage and strength to change the world.”
 
Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III Pastor, The Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York:
"An engrossing, fluently written story that anyone who cares about changing the world has to read."
 
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, 2011:
“Leymah bore witness to the worst of humanity and helped bring Liberia out of the dark. Her memoir is a captivating narrative that will stand in history as testament to the power of women, faith and the spirit of our great country”
 
STARRED Kirkus Review:
“Searing war-torn memories from a visionary African peacekeeper and women’s-rights activist….Gbowee stands responsible for what began as a tireless vocal demonstration and soon escalated to a standoff on the Presidential Mansion steps demanding peace. This course of action facilitated the war’s end in 2003 and the election of Africa’s first female president, and ended the author’s personal struggles with alcohol. With commanding charity, Gbowee celebrates Liberia’s eight years of peace and continues teaching young women about the power of activism. A patriotic chronicle reverberant with valor and perseverance.”

Kirkus Reviews

Searing war-torn memories from a visionary African peacekeeper and women's-rights activist.

Gbowee's affecting memoir begins in her native Liberia in the modest settlement where she and her sisters were raised within a community "built on togetherness and sharing." Because her parents had grown up poor, the author's jubilant graduation from a private school in Monrovia became especially significant. In 1990, her dream of attending college to study medicine was crushed when armed rebels led by militant Charles Taylor began a destructive power struggle between the Liberian army and the nation's indigenous people. Gunfire and bloody carnage scarred Gbowee's adolescent memories but also sparked the beginnings of her allegiant action involving women. As the fighting subsided and Taylor acquired power, the author selflessly enrolled in social-work training programs and ultimately aided ex-child soldiers from Taylor's army as Liberia's Second Civil War raged. Throughout the hardship of fleeing the violence and becoming destitute with her children from an abusive relationship, Gbowee adored her sisters. This familial bond became an empowering framework of strength, support and female solidarity that the author would perpetuate through groundbreaking women's peace-building movements and nonviolent political-activist initiatives like "Mass Action for Peace." Gbowee stands responsible for what began as a tireless vocal demonstration and soon escalated to a standoff on the Presidential Mansion steps demanding peace. This course of action facilitated the war's end in 2003 and the election of Africa's first female president, and ended the author's personal struggles with alcohol. With commanding charity, Gbowee celebrates Liberia's eight years of peace and continues teaching young women about the power of activism.

A patriotic chronicle reverberant with valor and perseverance.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780984295197
  • Publisher: Beast Books
  • Publication date: 3/26/2013
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 156,292
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Leymah Gbowee is the winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.  She is also the Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Africa columnist. As war ravaged Liberia, Leymah Gbowee realized it is women who bear the greatest burden in prolonged conflicts. She began organizing Christian and Muslim women to demonstrate together, founding Liberian Mass Action for Peace and launching protests and a sex strike. Gbowee’s part in helping to oust Charles Taylor was featured in the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Gbowee is a single mother of six, including one adopted daughter, and is based in Accra, Ghana, where she is the cofounder and executive director of the Women Peace and Security Network-Africa.

Carol Mithers is a Los Angeles-based journalist and book author. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of national publications.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Outstanding Book

    I ordered this book based on a friend's recommendation and it is wonderful. The story of women fighting for peace and freedom in Liberia is powerful reading. The subject of this story is now a Nobel Peace Prize winner which is even more exciting after having read the book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    Powerful! Read this.

    It is very difficult sitting comfortably in my house with my pets to read this book. The succinct, straightforward simplicity of writing increases the horror of what happened in Liberia. There is nothing to divert one's attention. The intricacies of the political, economic situation, the fact of two women's movements that take forever to trust each other and to begin to work in tandem, the grotesque violence on the part of all political forces against women and children are set forward in unvarnished form. Leymah Gbowee exhibits the power of her leadership in her unwillingness to shellack or in any way cover over her own failings of dependence on alcohol and men and the suffering of her family, especially her children. Her honesty about herself reveals how she was able to lead women to discover their individual and collective power in the midst of mind-numbing, horrific circumstances in order to make a difference in Liberia. While there were times I almost wanted a little sugar coating, not receiving it left me more educated, more aware, more in awe of all who survived. One question haunts me: why was the 2011 Noble peace prize divided among three women, each of whom is deserving in her own right? There is still much work to be done, not only in Liberia, but on the part of all inhabitants of this earth to building peace based on mutual respect and shared suffering. Read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2013

    I'll be honest with you, while I had heard of the African nation

    I'll be honest with you, while I had heard of the African nation of Liberia prior to my picking up Mighty Be Our Powers I didn't know too much about the country and I had no idea that it had suffered a brutal civil war that waged on and off for about two decades. However, by the time I finished this remarkable read by Leymah Gbowee about her experienced during that turbulent time in her country's history.

    In this powerful memoir Leymah describes her life before, during and after the war in Liberia. The account starts off not long before the war started when she was just a teenager starting college in the 1990's. She describes the care free life she lived before she moves on to retracing her life from after the war started and her life changed dramatically.

    At 19 years of age Leymah found herself pregnant and in an abusive relationship with an older man that was taking advantage of her youth and her naivete. Battling feelings of hopelessness and loneliness she takes the first step to better her life for herself and her little ones by leaving their father and moving home where after some time she begins the rough journey of piecing her life back together again.

    Leymah Gbowee's memoir is an inspiring read. Amidst a brutal civil war with many cards stacked against her she rises above many adversities to become a woman who leads others like her in the fight against poverty, rape and most of all the fight to bring international attention to the fact that women and children are often the ones who suffer most in times of war.

    I learned a lot about the country of Liberia and about this one woman's experience during the civil war that struck her homeland. The writing of this memoir was easy to read, she told her story like it happened and didn't once make her role in various organizations seem like she was the most important person. There was not one ounce of vanity in her depictions which I truly appreciated. I loved the fact that while she focused on her role as a leader that she is just one of many who are making strides to better the lives of her fellow Liberians and that they not she, are the unspoken heroes of the war.

    This book definitely sparked an interest in me to learn more about the people. culture and history of Liberia as well as the politics in the country. It also has me interested in checking out some of the NGO's that are in the country that are working to re-establish it's infrastructure and better the lives of the people.

    I highly recommend this memoir to anyone wanting to learn some amazingly hard life lessons from a woman who thought that she wasn't good enough to raise her own children to leading thousands of women. It's an inspirational read and while she does talk about her faith in the book she only does it in passing and doesn't force her religious beliefs upon the reader which is another thing that I liked about reading her memoir. If you want to learn a little bit and broaden your horizons I suggest you check this one out and it is one of the best memoirs I've ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    ++++picked it up

    and didn't put it down!

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  • Posted March 1, 2012

    Highly, Highly Recomment

    The book was outstanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    Inspiring

    I learned much from this book! It was fascinating to read about the downfall of Liberia, and I emerged newly enlightened about the turmoil in other parts of the world. The resiliency of Leymah and those she worked with made me realize how fortunate we are, and how easily a comfortable life can be turned upside down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Inspiring and uplifting.

    I've never been to Liberia or had a complete awareness of the issues, I now have a better understaning of the issues and struggles. I identify with the author, her life choices and triumphs.

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  • Posted December 17, 2011

    A hard story to read but well worth the effort

    The pain, struggle, heartache and devastation that Leymah Gbowee and her friends and family lived through is conveyed with such brutal reality that you feel as if you are experiencing it yourself. A few times I had to switch to lighter fare for a day because Leymah's story is so emotionally overwhelming. To say that I highly recommend this book is a understatement. What brave, strong, unbelievable women!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2011

    Every Woman Should Read This Story

    This powerful, human, inspirational book was too riveting to put down and I read it in one sitting. I was exhausted, empowered, awed, hopeful, - and then ashamed. Those women, who had nothing, least of all power or resources, accomplished peace. Here I sit in my comfortable home, with a good education, lots of technology, some power within my world, and what have I accomplished towards peace? Every woman in the United States and Europe should read this book. And then go out and make peace happen - this book makes the convincing case that there is nothing that can stop us if we join together as women. What are we waiting for? Start by reading this book and then sharing it with other women.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    Highly recommended

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    Posted November 4, 2011

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