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Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa's Fragile Edge
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Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa's Fragile Edge

4.6 3
by William Powers, William D. Powers
 

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An elegantly written memoir of a young man's life-changing sojourn in a world of immeasurable poverty and instability: Charles Taylor's Liberia.

William Powers went to Liberia as a fresh-faced aid worker in 1999 and was given the mandate to "fight poverty and save the rainforest." It's not long before Powers is confronting the myriad obstacles to these goals.

Overview

An elegantly written memoir of a young man's life-changing sojourn in a world of immeasurable poverty and instability: Charles Taylor's Liberia.

William Powers went to Liberia as a fresh-faced aid worker in 1999 and was given the mandate to "fight poverty and save the rainforest." It's not long before Powers is confronting the myriad obstacles to these goals. He discovers how Liberia has become a Fourth World country, or a "black hole in the international system"-poor, environmentally looted, scarred by violence, and barely governed. He comes face-to-face with unspeakable horrors and the insidious corruption behind every daily transaction. Yet, against the odds (and the attitude of most aid workers), he finds a place in the jungle that feels like home and a woman he might risk everything for, until violence descends once more, threatening his friends and his future.

With the pacing and prose of the best novels, Blue Clay People is an absorbing blend of humor, compassion, and rigorous moral questioning that will convince readers why the fate of endangered places such as Liberia must matter to all of us.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A Masterful storyteller…Powers has a keen ear for dialogue and dialect, and his prose is lovely and lyrical…[His] honesty about his own flaws places him in the congregation rather than the pulpit.” —Providence Journal

“So few educated Westerners agree to work in Liberia that any book illuminating the situation there would be welcome. It is a bonus that William Powers, one of those few, is also sensitive, reflective, and a fine stylist.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Powers sketches scenes of transcendent beauty and grotesque violence, and writes with disarming honesty about his struggle to maintain his ideals when the right course of action is far from clear.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582346441
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
05/02/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 8.18(h) x 0.92(d)

Meet the Author

William Powers hails from Long Island and is among a small group of Westerners to have lived long-term in Liberia and to have traveled to the nation's most dangerous corners. For two years, he directed food distribution, agriculture, and education programs for the largest non-governmental relief group in Liberia. He has also worked at the World Bank, and holds International Relations degrees from Brown University and Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. He's currently on assignment in Bolivia.

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4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice work! Fine piece of writing. I love memoirs set in Africa. If you like this book i recommend The Jack Bank.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey welcome to pandora.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My wife and I visited Liberia while our son was working there. We might have been the only 'tourists' in the war- and corruption-devestated West African nation! Bill showed us much of the country, from the teeming market places of Monrovia to the lush forests and dusty towns far from the capitol. It was sad to see the poverty: delapidated housing, little food, no postal service, no electricity (other than private generators), no piped water, no sanitation system. At the same time, the scores of people we met were warm and filled with hope. This was despite the fact that they had recently undergone the trauma of a protracted and bloodly civil war and now lived under the tyranical heel of President Charles Taylor. While idealistic, Bill was also realistic. Although he saw many of his development projects fail, he adapted, tried new things, got the people involved in rebuilding their own society. Despite the overwhelming odds, he never lost hope. Blue Clay People is a look at the role of foreign aid work in Liberia, and one assumes its insights are applicable to other countries as well. Most of all, the book is the engaging memoir of a young American's two years in Africa.