Several decades after the Biafran war happened, very little is being taught about it in schools today. What this means is that there is a large part of our history that will remain unknown if we don’t seek to learn about it ourselves. Over the years, this part of the history of Biafra has been documented in books. If you are looking to get a better understanding, we have provided this list of books as a place to begin.
1. The Nigerian Revolution and The Biafran War by Alexander Madiebo.
Published in 1980, this book presents an account of the Civil war from the point of view of Alexander Madeibo, a retired general of the Biafran Army and one of the right-hand men of Odumegwu Ojukwu, the leader of the short-lived Republic of Biafra.
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“This book is not intended to serve as political propaganda material for the beneﬁt of any section or group of individuals. It is rather a genuine attempt to render a dispassionate account of the Nigerian revolution and the civil war which took place from January 1966 to January 1970.”
2. Because I Am Involved by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (1989)
The leader of the Republic of Biafra, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s perception of the war is considered important. In this text, he reflects on his own role in the war and speaks on the political situation as well as the problems in Nigeria and proffers solutions to these problems. Here’s a notable quote from the book:
Until we are prepared to modify, and sometimes to abandon, our primordial attachments in favour of a new Nigerian relationship, we cannot unite.
3. Sunset in Biafra by Elechi Amadi (1973)
Sunset in Biafra is often dubbed “A Civil War Diary.” This is because it provides a personal account of the civil war. It highlights the experiences of Amadi as an Ikwerre man in the Igbo-dominated Eastern region of the civil war years. Here’s an excerpt pictured from the book.
4.There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (2012)
There Was A Country is a personal account of the secession of Biafra in 1967 and the subsequent civil war that exploded in Nigeria. The book is considered one of the defining works of modern African non-fiction.
5. The Biafra Story by Frederick Forsyth (1969)
This book, written by Frederick Forsyth, an English journalist and author, is an eyewitness account of the war. The first edition of the book was published in 1969, about seven months before Biafra surrendered. In a review for The Spectator, Auberon Waugh touts it as “probably the best [and by far the most complete account] we shall see on the war.”
6. Surviving in Biafra: The Story of the Nigerian Civil War By Alfred Obiora Uzokwe (2003)
When telling the story of a war, the stories of women and children do not receive enough attention or are often left untold. This memoir by Alfred Obiora Uzokwe fills this gap. He tells the story he experienced the war as a child.
7. Biafra: The History and Legacy of the Secessionist Republic of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War by Charles River Editors (2017)
This book details “details the complete history of Nigeria, dating back to its inception, civil war, and the aftermath of warfare. It incorporates contemporary accounts, online resources, a bibliography, and a plethora of photographs.”
8. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)
This is the only work of fiction on this list. But it doesn’t detract the quality of the work in any way. The book, written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who was born seven years after the war ended, uses a lot of material from interviews and works about the war to paint a humane and honest picture of what life in Biafra was like, and how a war can completely alter a people.