Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations

By Raymond Fisman; Edward Miguel | Go to book overview

Chapter One
Fighting for Economic Development

In the summer of 2004, world-renowned Kenyan novelist Ngugi Wa Thiong'o returned to his homeland after twentytwo years in exile. He flew to Nairobi to launch his new novel, Wizard of the Crow, his first in over a decade. Ngugi's earlier works—a dozen or so novels and collections of stories, which he began publishing just after Kenyan independence in 1963—had been wildly successful, not only in Kenya but throughout the world. Through his carefully wrought characters and achingly familiar plots of loss and suffering, Ngugi captured the bewildering contradictions left behind in the wake of European colonialism.

Ngugi had lived those contradictions and drew inspiration from his experiences, which were shared by so many of his fellow Kenyans. Ngugi had grown up during the 1950s, when Kenya had been rocked by the Mau Mau rebellion against its British colonizers. He had witnessed the murder

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