An elegantly written memoir of a young man's life-changing sojourn in a world of immeasurable poverty and instability: Charles Taylor's Liberia. [via]
William Powers went to Liberia as a fresh-faced aid worker in 1999 and was given the mandate to "fight poverty and save the rainforest." It's not long before Powers is confronting the myriad obstacles to these goals. He discovers how Liberia has become a Fourth World country, or a "black hole in the international system"-poor, environmentally looted, scarred by violence, and barely governed. He comes face-to-face with unspeakable horrors and the insidious corruption behind every daily transaction. Yet, against the odds (and the attitude of most aid workers), he finds a place in the jungle that feels like home and a woman he might risk everything for, until violence descends once more, threatening his friends and his future.
With the pacing and prose of the best novels, Blue Clay People is an absorbing blend of humor, compassion, and rigorous moral questioning that will convince readers why the fate of endangered places such as Liberia must matter to all of us.