This is not an original assertion since many other people have expressed disappointment for various reasons. The nobel laureate Wole Soyinka for one, thought that in the interest of national unity Achebe did not need to resurrect bitter stories that could sow more discord. Some yorubas (Achebe was Igbo) thought the story’s account was biased against them.
My reasons are simply literary.
I am writing this a good one month after reading the book. I have let the thoughts and ideas percolate and allowed my conclusions be firmer in my mind before writing this. My conclusion, and to put it as charitably as I can, considering the author’s status, is: it is not one of his greatest literary works.
I do not think senility is to blame, considering his advanced age when he wrote the book. I believe he was too wrapped up in the accounts, too passionate (because he was so deeply involved), that he allowed his emotion to take precedence.
For one, the latter section of the book is a very disorderly account. One many occasions he repeats himself and I have to ask myself, “Didn’t Chinua Achebe already say this earlier?”. And indeed he had.
He also took a lot of liberty with some facts in my opinion. Maybe this is the scientist in me, but when an author has to repeatedly say “I was told that” without citing his source and especially when speaking about serious life and death matters, you have to start to question his objectivity.
Now considering that I have read other accounts of the Biafran Civil War, including that by Frederick Forsyth, I could not but notice many factual inconsistencies.
Take note: I am a great supporter of the Igbo people and their right to self determination, even if that means granting them a nation of their own.