Madame President by Helene Cooper

This e book exemplifies why I like my studying challenges; I would not have picked this up with out the impetus of my studying challenges and it is launched my deep dive into modern Liberia.

I’m ashamed to confess I used to be unfamiliar with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf earlier than seeking out books for this problem; and as I began studying, I spotted I knew nothing about Liberia other than some imprecise tidbits I recalled from well-liked tradition.  (For an amazing, evenhanded intro into Sirleaf, this video is actually useful.)

Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
by Helene Cooper
Simon Schuster, 2017
Copy from public library
Learn Tougher 2021 and Studying Girls 2021 Challenges

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Liberia’s first feminine president in addition to the primary feminine president in Africa. When elected president in 2006, she inherited a rustic traumatized from many years of struggle and violent human rights abuses; a rustic whose infrastructure and economic system was so destroyed that 80% of Liberia’s residents had been below the worldwide poverty degree. And like so many different nations, Liberia had a historical past of classism and bias, with an upperclass inhabitants of households descended from freed American slaves and an underclass of Liberian indigenous teams. 

The work wanted to remodel Liberia beggars perception and and in her twelve years as president, Sirleaf managed the unattainable.

(There is a hilarious/heartbreaking anecdote about Sirleaf, newly
elected, calling on a pay-as-you-go telephone to then US President George W Bush to simply accept
congratulations, when her telephone drops the decision. Her calling card had run
out of minutes, so her workers frantically drive to a roadside market
stand to purchase all of the calling playing cards, and workers frantically scratch off
the codes so Sirleaf can end chatting with Bush.)

Nonetheless, Sirleaf’s legacy is sophisticated, and as acknowledged in a 2019 Al Jazeera English interview, she is likely to be higher admired internationally than in Liberia. This biography, nevertheless, would not dig into that, and it is the one cause this is not a 5 star learn for me.

Writer Helene Cooper is a Liberian herself however opted to deal with US politics in her journalism fairly than Liberia and West Africa. Nonetheless, her cultural connection to Liberia created a heat on this biography that I appreciated; it wasn’t the gaze of an outsider. Nonetheless, it felt to me that connection additionally impacted the way in which she wrote about Sirleaf — the e book had touches of being an ‘licensed’ biography (though Cooper says she would not let Sirleaf learn any of the draft). There is a lack of vital evaluation of Sirleaf that I’ve come throughout in different summaries of Sirleaf’s life and presidency.

An fascinating reader second occurred for me throughout the sections round Liberian responses to the 2014 Ebola outbreak. As this e book was printed in 2017, Cooper’s part justifying why Liberians violated quarantine protocols throughout the Ebola outbreak reads so otherwise in 2021 than it in all probability did in 2018. As I learn now, after a yr of watching folks protest over carrying masks, closing public areas, and suggesting social distancing, it wasn’t shocking to me that some Liberians rushed to care for his or her sick members of the family or why some had been in denial in regards to the seriousness of the outbreak. 

I am counting this learn for each Learn Tougher Job 18: Learn a e book by/a few non-Western world chief and Studying Girls Job 17: a e book a few Lady in Politics.


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