In the winter of his 39th year, Robert Cherry, a journalist and the author of the acclaimed biography of an American sports legend (Wilt Chamberlain), made a return visit to Africa. His destination was the village in the Liberian rain forest where, fourteen years before, he had served as a Peace Corps Volunteer—the first American to live there.
The result is Living Liberia, which introduces the reader to a charming, exotic and unforgettable land, although given Liberia’s history it seems that God Himself, at times, has forgotten it.
The book evokes the author’s special and enduring relationship with, and his sharp and witty observations about, the country and its people, including Liberia’s unique history—it was founded by freed American slaves whose descendants dominated the country until they were overthrown by the indigenous tribal people; black-and-white relations, both the African and American variety; the challenges (and satisfaction) of living in a village for almost two years without running water or electricity; and working with a principal who made up national holidays. Moreover, it depicts the education of a young American in tribal rituals and sexual mores and, not least, his encounters with a memorable gallery of African idealists and rogues. Moving, funny and informative is how one reviewer described the author’s earlier work, fitting words as well for his latest effort—Living Liberia.