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June 06 , 2010

The Brothers' War

Biafra and Nigeria


The Brothers' War: Biafra and Nigeria was first published in 1972. In the UK it had the title The Nigerian Civil War. That is what it is about.

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In the early 1960s Nigeria looked set to be the major black African country. It seemed to be immune from the internecine struggles that bedevilled so many of the African states. The illusion of stability was shattered at the beginning of 1966. During the next four years the country suffered two bloody coups, a series of appalling massacres, and a protracted and savage civil war which claimed a million lives.

This was a civil war on a par with the American and Spanish civil wars and like both those it was a desperate affair, fought to the bitter end by determined people who shared a common past and a common language.

John de St. Jorre covered the conflict for the Observer. He was one of the few people to keep in touch with both sides. His account was objective and remains definitive.

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