The Nigerian Civil War

The Nigerian Civil War

In the late 1960s, the fratricidal conflict in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, mirrored the American and Spanish civil wars. The internecine struggle lasted a similar amount of time and killed roughly the same number of people. Like the American civil war, it was a war about nationhood and self-determination; and like the Spanish conflict it involved foreign intervention on both sides. It was the first televised war where the fighting and the plight of civilians caught up in it were watched in living rooms around the world. The result was passionate and often controversial humanitarian action. The war ended with a nation intact although it failed to resolve Nigeria’s seemingly intractable political, economic and social problems.

“A tour de force of journalistic history… a comprehensive, well-informed, attractively written account of the greatest tragedy of independent Africa.”
Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Observer

“A detailed, balanced and readable account of all aspects of the war.”
Hollis R. Lynch, The New York Times Book Review

“Excellent book… the lucidity of his judgment and the vividness which he imparts to his descriptive passages are commendable… he writes with panache.”
The Economist

“Marvellously written… some passages read like a novel.”

John Mackintosh, The Spectator

[London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1972]

Also published in the United States as The Brothers’ War: Biafra & Nigeria [Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972]