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Born in the United States to Nigerian immigrants, author Alexis Okeowo developed a fascination for Africa, though she only visited there once as a child. After graduating from university, she moved to Uganda for a 10-month internship at a newspaper and then returned to America. Five years later, she moved from Brooklyn to Nigeria, where she continued to work as a journalist.

As Okeowo matured in her profession, the people whose stories most interested her “were the everyday, complicated Africans who were dealing with religious and cultural fundamentalism, state failure, and conflict, people who were grappling with their countries and trying to push them forward.”

She wondered, “What does resistance mean in the fight against extremism in Africa? What are the ethics of resisting? When extreme circumstances are forced upon a person, what is she allowed to do to survive?”

A Moonless, Starless Nightanswers these questions and more through four narratives: in Uganda, a young couple struggle to survive Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army; in Mauritania, a young man defies Islamic teachings in order to fight the institution of slavery in the country he loves; in Nigeria, a teen captured by Boko Haram escapes her captors, while a government bureaucrat forms a vigilante group to fight the extremists; and in Somalia, a teenage girl continues to play basketball despite death threats made against her by religious fundamentalists.

Okeowo’s portraits of ordinary people fighting extremism are both painful—how much can humans endure?—and inspiring. She gives readers insights into a world where religion is used as a weapon to control and destroy its opponents and where both Christians and Muslims have suffered as a result. (Hachette Books)

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