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Friday, January 18, 2013

Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War by Leymah Gbowee, Carol Mithers

Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War

In a time of death and terror, Leymah Gbowee brought Liberia's women together--and together they led a nation to peace. As a young woman, Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts--and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia's ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace.
Summary & Photo taken from
Length: 256 page (Hardcover)
Publication Date: September 13th 2011 by Beast Books
A couple of weeks ago I was at the library and I just so happened to stumble across Mighty Be Our Powers sitting there on the shelf. Many of you know that I'm attempting to read more non-fiction this year and that I'm participating in an Around the World reading challenge in the group Around the World (In 52 Books). I didn't complete my challenge last year but I'm planning to this year so when I saw that this book was set in Liberia I knew this would be my read for that country.
I'll be honest with you, while I had heard of the African nation of Liberia prior to my picking up Mighty Be Our Powers I didn't know too much about the country and I had no idea that it had suffered a brutal civil war that waged on and off for about two decades. However, by the time I finished this remarkable read by Leymah Gbowee about her experienced during that turbulent time in her country's history.
In this powerful memoir Leymah describes her life before, during and after the war in Liberia. The account starts off not long before the war started when she was just a teenager starting college in the 1990's.  She describes the care free life she lived before she moves on to retracing her life from after the war started and her life changed dramatically.
At 19 years of age Leymah found herself pregnant and in an abusive relationship with an older man that was taking advantage of her youth and her naivete. Battling feelings of hopelessness and loneliness she takes the first step to better her life for herself and her little ones by leaving their father and moving home where after some time she begins the rough journey of piecing her life back together again.
Leymah Gbowee's memoir is an inspiring read. Amidst a brutal civil war with many cards stacked against her she rises above many adversities to become a woman who leads others like her in the fight against poverty, rape and most of all the fight to bring international attention to the fact that women and children are often the ones who suffer most in times of war.
I learned a lot about the country of Liberia and about this one woman's experience during the civil war that struck her homeland. The writing of this memoir was easy to read, she told her story like it happened and didn't once make her role in various organizations seem like she was the most important person. There was not one ounce of vanity in her depictions which I truly appreciated.  I loved the fact that while she focused on her role as a leader that she is just one of many who are making strides to better the lives of her fellow Liberians and that they not she, are the unspoken heroes of the war.
This book definitely sparked an interest in me to learn more about the people. culture and history of Liberia as well as the politics in the country. It also has me interested in checking out some of the NGO's that are in the country that are working to re-establish it's infrastructure and better the lives of the people.
I highly recommend this memoir to anyone wanting to learn some amazingly hard life lessons from a woman who thought that she wasn't good enough to raise her own children to leading thousands of women. It's an inspirational read and while she does talk about her faith in the book she only does it in passing and doesn't force her religious beliefs upon the reader which is another thing that I liked about reading her memoir. If you want to learn a little bit and broaden your horizons I suggest you check this one out and it is one of the best memoirs I've ever read.
I read this book for the following challenges:

Loved It!
★ ★ ★ ★★
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  1. Awesome review! I've been wanting to read this book for a while. Have you seen the documentary "Pray the Devil back to Hell"? You should watch it! It's amazing!

  2. Wow. I hadn't heard of this book before. Lately I haven't been in a non-fiction reading mood but your review makes me want to read it. Maybe someday.

  3. What a amazing review. Sounds like a powerful story. The world needs more women like her.


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