Unbowed: A Memoir
by Wangari Maathai
Hugely charismatic, humble, and possessed of preternatural luminosity of spirit, Wangari Maathai, the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and a single mother of three, recounts her extraordinary life as a political activist, feminist, and environmentalist in Kenya.
Born in a rural village in 1940, Wangari Maathai was already an iconoclast as a child, determined to get an education even though most girls were uneducated. We see her studying with Catholic missionaries, earning bachelorÕs and masterÕs degrees in the United States, and becoming the first woman both to earn a PhD in East and Central Africa and to head a university department in Kenya. We witness her numerous run-ins with the brutal Moi government. She makes clear the political and personal reasons that compelled her, in 1977, to establish the Green Belt Movement, which spread from Kenya across Africa and which helps restore indigenous forests while assisting rural women by paying them to plant trees in their villages. We see how MaathaiÕs extraordinary courage and determination helped transform KenyaÕs government into the democracy in which she now serves as assistant minister for the environment and as a member of Parliament. And we are with her as she accepts the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in recognition of her Òcontribution to sustainable development, human rights, and peace.Ó
In Unbowed, Wangari Maathai offers an inspiriting message of hope and prosperity through self-sufficiency.