Ian Brinkworth uses Brook as a surname when he writes. Brinkworth the man and Brook the writer (he's written fiction too) are a very stimulating pair in this book -- mostly about his tenure in West Africa in the Colonial Service. The book follows Brink-worth-Brook's unconventional life as a painter in London and he reminisces that ""Had anyone suggested to me...that one day I would join the Colonial Administrative Service I should have thought he was being offensive."" His experiences in the SAS during the war leave him ""...ashamed. Ashamed of my capacity to walk upright."" His career in Africa is begun as an attempt to lend himself to something reconstructive and to ""...strengthen the compassionate forces aroused by the horror of totalitarian government."" He treats his subject--the people he lives with, the case he takes up--in Africa, with remarkable sympathy and understanding and he makes a life-size effort to get at the sources and needs of emerging Nigeria. His narrative has a refreshing trueness about it--in a world where ""The most difficult thing to hear...is truth. All news is filtered and angled."" He doesn't filter or angle and yet, he overplays his facility for the informal (and sometimes dangling) anecdote and the reader may require more cohesion in places. The total effect, though, is pretty wonderful, and people who want insight into Africa during this difficult transition period will be rewarded.