Renowned novelist, poet, playwright, and literary critic Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o was a student at a prestigious, British-run boarding school near Nairobi when the tumultuous Mau Mau Uprising for independence and Kenyan sovereignty gripped his country. While he enjoyed scouting trips and chess tournaments, his family home was razed to the ground and his brother, a member of the insurgency, was captured by the British and taken to a concentration camp. But Ngũgĩ could not escape history, and eventually found himself jailed after a run in with the forces of colonialism.
Ngũgĩ richly and poignantly evokes the experiences that would transform him into a world-class writer and, as a political dissident, a moral compass to us all. A winning celebration of the implacable determination of youth and the power of hope, here is a searing account of the history of a man—and the story of a nation.