The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood
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Paperback, Simon & Schuster, 2009, ISBN13 9780743266253, ISBN10 0743266250
Helene Cooper is "Congo," a descendant of two Liberian dynasties--traced back to the first ship of freemen that set sail from New York in 1820 to found Monrovia. Helene grew up at Sugar Beach, a twenty-two-room mansion by the sea. Her childhood was filled with servants, flashy cars, a villa in Spain, and a farmhouse up-country. It was also an African childhood, filled with knock foot games and hot pepper soup, heartmen and neegee. When Helene was eight, the Coopers took in a foster child--a common custom among the Liberian elite. Eunice, a Bassa girl, suddenly became known as "Mrs. Cooper's daughter."
For years the Cooper daughters--Helene, her sister Marlene, and Eunice--blissfully enjoyed the trappings of wealth and advantage. But Liberia was like an unwatched pot of water left boiling on the stove. And on April 12, 1980, a group of soldiers staged a coup d'etat, assassinating President William Tolbert and executing his cabinet. The Coopers and the entire Congo class were now the hunted, being imprisoned, shot, tortured, and raped. After a brutal daylight attack by a ragtag crew of soldiers, Helene, Marlene, and their mother fled Sugar Beach, and then Liberia, for America. They left Eunice behind.
A world away, Helene tried to assimilate as an American teenager. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill she found her passion in journalism, eventually becoming a reporter for the "Wall Street Journal" and the "New York Times." She reported from every part of the globe--except Africa--as Liberia descended into war-torn, third-world hell.
In 2003, a near-death experience in Iraq convinced Helene that Liberia--and Eunice--could wait no longer. At once a deeply personal memoir and an examination of a violent and stratified country, "The House at Sugar Beach" tells of tragedy, forgiveness, and transcendence with unflinching honesty and a survivor's gentle humor. And at its heart, it is a story of Helene Cooper's long voyage home.
|Number of Pages:||354|
|Number in Series:||1|
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Publication Date:||July, 2009|
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H):||5.50 x 8.75 x 1.00 Inches|
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