A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa

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In Uganda, a young couple is forced together and grow to love one another as they struggle to escape a warlord's army.  In Somalia, a group of teenage girls defy death threats to play the sport they love.  In Nigeria, ordinary citizens band together to fight back against Boko Haram.  And in Mauritania, a young activist tries, against all odds, to prove slavery is not supported by Islam -- and works to free its victims. 

A Moonless, Starless Sky sweeps between these four countries, detailing acts of individual courage and collective outrage.  In each story, Okeowo illuminates the immense difficulty and danger of opposing extremism, and introduces real people who refuse to bend to its oppression. 

"Liberty, that precious, delicate right, is fleeting in so much of the world.  Sometimes it is there for you to take and enjoy; other times it suddenly and violently disappears, as if it never existed in the first place.  But there are always people who go looking for that freedom, even at personal risk.  They are not only activists and vigilantes, but also ordinary people.  I became interested in subtler forms of resistance, ways of fighting that are not easy to notice.  Preserving your way of life amid extreme situations is also a vital struggle."

Alexis Okeowo is an American journalist and author.  Born in Alabama to Nigerian parents, she first traveled to Uganda as a Princeton Fellow and worked at the Kampala-based New Vision newspaper.  She currently is a staff writer at The New Yorker, and A Moonless, Starless Sky is her first book.

Published:  2017
Length:  240 pages
Set in:  Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia, and Uganda

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