Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Review–Unbowed by Wangari Maathai

I just got back from a vacation up to New England (it was great!), and my “vacation book” was Unbowed, by Wangari Maathai.  Not your usual light summer read, but definitely a book worth reading.  Wangari Maathai was born in Kenya in 1940, founded the Green BeltUnbowed: A Memoir Movement, and, in 2004, became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  This memoir recounts her early childhood in Kenya during colonial times, her studies in the U.S., and her return to Kenya.  We learn how Maathai started and developed the Green Belt Movement, which was a network of rural women who grew and planted trees throughout Kenya (over 40 million trees according to the book).  The reader also follows her journey through the political landscape of Kenya as democracy developed.  Written in a very matter-of-fact tone, this memoir is not exactly an edge-of-your-seat thriller, but the reader’s  patience pays off.  As Maathai calmly describes the many ups and downs of her personal journey, the reader gets a detailed look at the sacrifices this remarkable woman made for the country and environment she loved. 

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