Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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A novel of great power that turns the world upside down. The Nigerian novelist Achebe reached back to the early days of his people's encounter with colonialism, the 1890's, though the white man and his religion make an impression upon the story only in its later stages. Instead of being treated as onlookers to the arrival of the colonial power, either passive or menacing, here the Africans are center stage, capable all the while of nobility but also cruelty, wisdom and bewilderment. Okonkwo is an ambitious man within the Umuofia clan of the Igbo tribe. Determined to be a lord, he observes its rules, even the harshest of them, though that observance will eventually drive away his own son. Achebe guides us through the intricacies of Igbo culture, its profound sense of justice, its sometimes murderous rules, its noble and harmful machismo. By the time the British colonial administrator arrives towards the end of the book to dismiss the natives as savages, we know how profoundly mistaken that word is.— R.L.

- Time

The 71st greatest fiction book of all time

This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 1st on Top 100 World Literature Titles (Perfection Learning)
  2. - 39th on The Telegraph’s 100 Novels Everyone Should Read (Telegraph)
  3. - 55th on The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time (The Novel 100)
  4. - 70th on Radcliffe's 100 Best Novels (Radcliffe Publishing Course)
  5. - 71st on The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time: The List (The Observer)
  6. - Books That Changed the World: The 50 Most Influential Books in Human History (Book)
  7. - The New Lifetime Reading Plan (The New Lifetime Reading Plan)
  8. - From Zero to Well-Read in 100 Books (Jeff O'Neal at
  9. - 100 Life-Changing Books (National Book Award)
  10. - 48 Good Books (University of Buffalo)
  11. - 50 Books That Changed the World (Open Education Database)
  12. - TIME Magazine All Time 100 Novels (TIME Magazine)
  13. - The Great American Read (PBS)
  14. - The College Board: 101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers (
  15. - Top 100 Works in World Literature (Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute)
  16. - Third World Novels… The Top 10 (New Internationalist)
  17. - 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime ( (USA))

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