The Biafra-Britain Connection: Background information when reading What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky


by Lesley Nneka Arimah

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah X
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2017, 240 pages
    Apr 2018, 240 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
Buy This Book

About this Book

The Biafra-Britain Connection

This article relates to What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

Print Review

In the titular, futuristic story from What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, there is talk of a Biafra-Britannia alliance and one character's father still holds "bitterly to the idea of Biafran independence, an independence his parents had died for in the late 2030s."

The Biafra-Britannia alliance would be an irony given that Britain sided against Biafra in the Nigerian Civil War.

BiafraNigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960. At the time, Nigeria was made up of a number of religious and tribal factions. A military coup in 1967 displaced the Nigerian head and since the ousting general was Igbo, it was widely believed that the coup originated in the Northeast, the Igbo region of Nigeria. Reciprocation against the Igbo was swift and culminated in the area, named Biafra, demanding secession from the rest of the country under the leadership of Colonel Emeka Ojukwu.

This lead to the Nigerian Civil War, which lasted close to three years. The death toll from the fighting and famine that resulted from a blockade of supplies to the region from Nigeria is pegged at approximately a million. For more about Nigeria's Civil War, read the Beyond the Book for Half of a Yellow Sun.

It is widely believed that Britain shifted allegiances this way and that during the war, and eventually supported the Nigerian Federal government in its fight against the Biafrans for one valuable asset: oil. Biafra is rich in the natural resource and Colonel Emeka Ojukwu had initially demanded that Britain's Shell Oil pay royalties to the newly founded Biafran government instead of to Nigeria. While Britain made a token payment, the blockade on all goods out of Biafra made oil exports close to impossible anyway, a situation that, in turn, threatened to seriously harm the British economy.

Emeka OjukwuIn a few months, Britain was squarely on the side of the Nigerian government, supplying arms and ammunition in its fight against Biafra.

Map of Biafra
Colonel Emeka Ojukwu, courtesy of

Filed under People, Eras & Events

Article by Poornima Apte

This "beyond the book article" relates to What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. It originally ran in May 2017 and has been updated for the April 2018 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Girl in His Shadow
    The Girl in His Shadow
    by Audrey Blake
    The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake is a fast-paced historical novel set in Victorian-era England...
  • Book Jacket: Whereabouts
    by Jhumpa Lahiri
    Jhumpa Lahiri's Whereabouts has seen numerous comparisons to Second Place by Rachel Cusk. These two ...
  • Book Jacket: Swimming Back to Trout River
    Swimming Back to Trout River
    by Linda Rui Feng
    Linda Rui Feng's first novel, Swimming Back to Trout River, is a powerful meditation on the ties ...
  • Book Jacket: The Unfit Heiress
    The Unfit Heiress
    by Audrey Farley
    During the American eugenics movement (see Beyond the Book), involuntary sterilization was used to ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Book of Lost Names
by Kristin Harmel
A heartrending novel of survival, inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Morningside Heights
    by Joshua Henkin

    A tender and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-winning author of The World Without You.

Who Said...

The worst thing about reading new books...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

H I T Best P

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.