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Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

James Ciment

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12. August 2014
James Ciment, in his enthralling history Another America, shows that the settlers struggled to balance their high ideals with their prejudices. On the steamy shores of West Africa, they re-created the only social order they knew, that of an antebellum Dixie, with themselves as the master caste, ruling over a native population that outnumbered them twenty to one. They built plantations, held elegant dances, and worked to protect their fragile independence from the predations of foreign powers. Meanwhile, they fought, abused, and even helped to enslave the native Liberians. The persecuted became the persecutors - until a lowly native sergeant murdered their president in 1980, ending 133 years of Americo-Liberian rule and inaugurating a quarter century of civil war. Riven by caste, committed to commerce, practicing democratic and Christian ideals haphazardly, the Americo-Liberians created a history that is, to a surprising degree, the mirror image of our own.

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"Ciment captures the establishment and destiny of [Liberia], from [its] expectant beginnings, to the Orwellian zeal with which the formerly oppressed in many cases became the oppressors, to the more recent atrocities committed by Charles Taylor. That few Americans today seem aware of Liberia's story, and their own country's essential role in it, gives this book a place in the lexicon that exceeds the mere quality of its research or readability of its text, both of which are considerable."--"The Daily Beast ""Vivid . . . Enlivened by profiles of some of the early settlers, this is an engaging and accessible account."--"Publishers Weekly ""America's ugly affair with slavery produced an illegitimate child, the nation of Liberia. James Ciment's book is a stunning portrait of both Americas, the superpower and the outcast 'child'--a nation we fostered, abused, and used, and that now thrives despite it all. Ciment brings a journalist's 'you are there' voice and a novelist's insight to this history of America reborn in Africa under black rule and misrule. Affecting, at times violent, and filled with unforgettable characters, "Another""America "reads like nonfiction Dostoyevsky."--Greg Palast, author of "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" and "Vultures' Picnic ""James Ciment has written well about the fantastic, twisted story of the Republic of Liberia, which saw freed slaves from America return to Africa to rule over the natives for more than a century, until they were ousted in a long and brutal civil war. "Another""America "is an engaging, accessible, appropriately critical yet respectful history that reads like a novel you won't be able to put down."--Emily Raboteau, author of "Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora ""James Ciment's "Another America "is a rip-roaring popular retelling of Liberian history. It is a whirl of names and places that evokes the conundrum presented by African Americans in Afri

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

James Ciment is an editor and the author of several books on the history of Africa and the Middle East. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.


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4.0 von 5 Sternen Historical Overview 24. Oktober 2013
Von Loves the View - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Author James Ciment tells the history of Liberia starting with the 1820 arrival of its first colonists on the Elizabeth. He gives interesting background on the settlers and their reasons emigrating from the US to the new country, Liberia. He shows that like the US, itself, the country had to wrested from the natives that had controlled it to date. The narrative shows how the tensions of this past affected each successive generation up to the present time.

The history is told in a series of episodes. While each is interesting and unique some of the early ones seem incomplete and not well tied together. For instance, the leap from starving colonists to a thriving community is not described very well. There are more specifics on a meeting in Germany where the map of Africa is determined, than there is on how Liberia actually lost land to France and England. Four pages are devoted to the travels of Benjamin Anderson and the challenges to his reports. It appears that Liberia's claim to interior land was based on Anderson's exploration. The implication is that the challenge to the reports allowed France to take these lands, but how this was done is not explained.

The post WW2 narrative is the best, most likely reflecting the availability of more sources. Ciment notes that very little of the historical record survives in Liberia making the US the location of most primary sources.

This book will appeal to general readers with an interest in slavery and/or Africa. The overall story of this country struck me as being very important to the study of sociology. How is it that those who fled slavery built a prosperous life by re-instituting it? What were the factors that created oppressors from the oppressed?

While the narrative is uneven, the book succeeds for its great portraits of the key players and because in the end you come to understand the historical forces that created this country and how their affect can still be seen in Liberia today.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen A very good look at Early Liberia 3. April 2014
Von gwaan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The book explores with great detail and narrative skill the first steps of early Liberia (=the situation of slaves and recently emancipated slaves in the US), as well as the reasons for the creation of the American Colonization Society.

Their first attempts at settling in West Africa are also brilliantly described, and the creation of the settlement in what is now Monrovia. Their trials, their challenges, their strenghts and also their weaknesses are all well analyzed, and the book benefits from plenty of first-hand letters from the early settlers themselves.

It also explores the early politico-social-economic cleavages and how they were tackled.

Nonetheless, all the depth of Early Liberia stands in contrast to late 20th Century Liberia > the regimes of Tolbert, Doe and the conflicts of Taylor & Cronies as well as the new times of Ellen J. SirLeaf are raced through so quickly you'd be forgiven for thinking they never happened!

So, if Early Liberia is the interest, this is the book. If recent Liberia is the point, you'll be disappointed.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen History of a troubled country 23. September 2013
Von Judy K. Kem - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
A long-awaited history of Liberia. James Ciment does an amazing job in offering us an "objective" history of this troubled country. He visited Liberia at some personal risk and consulted archives in Indiana (many of the archives in Liberia were destroyed in a series of wars). Yet he only scratches the surface. So much remains to be written about this "American colony" and only African republic with a woman head of state.
5.0 von 5 Sternen FANTASTIC READ 5. April 2014
Von bma1992 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent piece of work 17. Januar 2014
Von John Mark Winfield - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
A very well written and well balanced account of the trials, tribulations and successes of those Americans who ventured back to the land of their ancestors. The history of Liberia and its people is astonishing!!
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