Synopses & Reviews
In January 2006, after the Republic of Liberia had been racked by fourteen years of brutal civil conflict, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—Africa's "Iron Lady"—was sworn in as president, an event that marked a tremendous turning point in the history of the West African nation.
In this stirring memoir, Sirleaf shares the inside story of her rise to power, including her early childhood; her experiences with abuse, imprisonment, and exile; and her fight for democracy and social justice. This compelling tale of survival reveals Sirleaf's determination to succeed in multiple worlds: from her studies in the United States to her work as an international bank executive to her election campaigning in some of Liberia's most desperate and war-torn villages and neighborhoods. It is also the story of an outspoken political and social reformer who, despite danger, fought the oppression of dictators and championed change. By sharing her story, Sirleaf encourages women everywhere to pursue leadership roles at the highest levels of power, and gives us all hope that, with perseverance, we can change the world.
"Forbes lists Sirleaf, the 23rd president of Liberia and the first elected female president on the African continent, among the 100 Most Powerful Women in 2008. In and out of government, in and out of exile, but consistent in her commitment to Liberia, Sirleaf in her memoir reveals herself to be among the most resilient, determined and courageous as well. She writes with modesty in a calm and measured tone. While her account includes a happy childhood and an unhappy marriage, the book is politically, not personally, focused as she (and Liberia) go through the disastrous presidencies of Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor. Sirleaf's training as an economist and her employment (e.g., in banking, as minister of finance in Liberia, and in U.N. development programs) informs the perspective from which she views internal Liberian history (e.g., the tensions between the 'settler class' and the indigenous people) and Liberia's international relations. Although her focus is thoroughly on Liberia, the content is more widely instructive, particularly her account of the role of the Economic Community of West African States." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“This is the incredible story of a woman who spent her life talking tough to the lunatics surrounding her. It is an accessible walk through Liberian history, told by someone who was somehow always in the center of the political storm.” New York Times Book Review
“Exceptionally well written, a true story that seems as much a thriller as the remembrances of an ambitious and brave woman. . . . This timely book, essential for anyone who hopes to understand West Africa in general and Liberia in particular, is a lesson in courage and perserverance.” Washington Post
“An inspiring inside look at a nation struggling to rebuild itself and the woman now behind those efforts.” Booklist
"The 2006 election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia's first woman president — the first in all of Africa! — is one of the few uncontested bright spots in the turbulent recent history of that country....Becoming president in postwar Liberia was pure euphoria, she says, the most she could hope for. At the same time, 'Despair and resignation stared many of our citizens in the face,' she writes. 'All of this was as true on inauguration day as it had been the day before and as it would be the day after.'" Erin Aubry Kaplan, Ms. Magazine
(read the entire Ms. Magazine review
“The first thing to be said about Ellen Johnson Sirleafs This Child Will Be Great
is that it is exceptionally well written, a true story that seems as much a thriller as the remembrances of an ambitious and brave woman. . . . This timely book, essential for anyone who hopes to understand West Africa in general and Liberia in particular, is a lesson in courage and perseverance.”
From Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—Africas first elected female president—comes an inspirational memoir about her improbable rise to international prominence, her fight for political freedom, and her unwavering determination to rebuild Liberia in the wake of civil war.
About the Author
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received several prestigious awards, including the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. She holds numerous degrees, among them a master's in public administration from Harvard University. President Sirleaf lives in Monrovia, Liberia.