Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya, in 1940. She is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which, through networks of rural women, has planted over 30 million trees across Kenya since 1977. In 2002, she was elected to Kenya's Parliament in the first free elections in a generation, and in 2003, she was appointed Deputy Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 2004, she has three grown children and lives and works in Nairobi.
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Kenyan environmental and political activist Maathai, currently an assistant minister in the Ministry for the Environment, Natural Resources, and Wildlife, Kenya, here offers an autobiography written with honesty, humility, and depth. She relates her early interest in the natural world, her formal studies at a Catholic school far from home, the terror as the Mau Mau rebellion began, and her U.S. college studies in biology. Although she encountered incidents of racial discrimination, her U.S. education proved to be a liberating experience. Having earned a master's in biology in 1965, she was asked to return to the newly independent Kenya to work as a lab assistant at the University of Nairobi and complete her Ph.D. She founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, providing rural women with work planting trees to reforest Kenya, and moved into political activism as well. Her achievements, accomplished as they were in the face of incarceration by those in power, will astonish the reader. Maathai's fairness, activism, and determination to make her country and the continent she loves healthy again are palpable. For all academic libraries as well as public libraries with African collections. [For an interview with Maathai, see "Fall Editors' Picks," LJ 9/1/06.-Ed.]-James Thorsen, Madison Cty. Schs., Weaverville, NC Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"Wangari Maathai's memoir is direct, honest, and beautifully written--a gripping account of modern Africa's trials and triumphs, a universal story of courage, persistence, and success against great odds in a noble cause." --President Bill Clinton"Wangari Maathai is the rare leader who knows how to create independence, not dependence. On the page as in person, her example makes each of us a little stronger, wiser and braver than we ever thought we could be." --Gloria Steinem "Compelling. . . . A striking reminder that the peace award, more than any other Nobel honor, recognizes success achieved through tremendous adversity." --The Seattle Times "Inspirational. . . . Ms. Maathai will not be beaten down." --The Economist "[Maathai's] story provides uplifting proof of the power of perseverance--and of the power of principled, passionate people to change their countries and inspire the world." --The Washington Post