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.