Synopsis: Today Gretel Clark has a BA from Vassar College, an MA from University of Michigan, and CAS from Harvard University. She has taught on four continents, raised four children, and is currently a beekeeper in Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Back when she was a young American joining her husband on a pre-Peace Corps mission to newly independent Nigeria, Gretel worked in the Ministry of Education, while her husband joined a team of economists sent by the Ford Foundation, Gretel wrote a series of letters home from 1962 to 1962 that provide an uniquely inside view of the fledgling Nigerian government. It is that correspondence that now comprises Letters from Nigeria, enhanced with a profusion of full-color photographs that bring alive the vibrant cultures of the then new African nation. “Letters from Nigeria” touches upon life among British civil servants, visiting foreign diplomats and speculators, and at the heart of it all, her daily interactions with the Nigerian people. Included “Letters from Nigeria” are Gretel’s anthropological musings, economic development theories, and the birth of her first child in a West African government hospital.
Critique: Informative, extraordinary, insightful, compelling, “Letters from Nigeria” is impressively well written and illustrated from beginning to end, making it very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library American Biography collections in general, and Nigerian History supplemental studies reading lists in particular.
Margaret Lane, Reviewer, Midwest Book Review