Author(s): Michael Gould
International media coverage in the 1960s and early 1970s represented the Biafran War, in which the state of Biafra attempted to secede from the Nigerian Federation, as a grand humanitarian disaster, characterised by sustained conflict, starvation and genocide. Using interviews and newly-released archival material, Michael Gould questions this depiction, examining the role of foreign parties in the conflict and the impact of propaganda upon its international reception both during and after the war. Envisaged initially by both sides as a short conflict, the war confounded all expectations, stretching on for four years. It was a 'brother's war', one which divided families, and was characterised overwhelmingly by both sides' reluctance to enter into hostilities. This book seeks to answer some of the most fundamental questions surrounding the conflict, including how this avoidable conflict came about, why the war became so drawn-out and how the leadership of the opposing Generals Ojukwu, who led the Biafran revolt and Gowon, who was President of the Nigerian Federation, defined the conflict.
In the process, Gould offers a radical reappraisal of the many entrenched conceptions which currently surround the conflict. This book will be essential reading for all students of African history and politics, and post-colonial studies.
Michael Gould holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He has lived and worked in Nigeria.