POLITICAL SCIENCE

Parkinson, Joe & Drew Hinshaw. Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of the Global Search for Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls

Harper. Mar. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9780062933928. $28.99. POL SCI
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Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in the Nigerian town of Chibok in 2014. After the Twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls went viral, leaders recognized the hostages’ value as ransom, for the release of captured fighters as well as for financial reward. Wall Street Journal writers Parkinson and Hinshaw followed the complex negotiations to obtain the release of the Chibok Girls, and their thorough account explains how negotiators, former Boko Haram fighters, and others, brought about the eventual release of most of the girls. Using diaries kept, at great risk, by two of the girls, the authors offer insight into the incredible courage and faith the captives maintained while they endured more than three years of captivity. Descriptions of religious coercion, starvation, and emotional suffering are written with sensitivity and care. Final chapters report on a few of the girls’ experiences following their release in 2017.
VERDICT The authors show that peaceful, below-the-radar mediation with understanding of cultural differences and persistent conversation between participants can result in successful outcomes. Readers wishing to learn more about the Chibok girls beyond headlines and viral hashtags, as well as those looking for a better understanding of international relations, will be rewarded in this moving book.

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