Foreword Reviews

Against All Odds

Zambia's President Edgar Chagwa Lungu's Rough Journey to State House

Clarion Rating: 5 out of 5

In telling the story of how Lungu calmed the volatile transfer of power in Zambia, Against All Odds is an engaging political biography.

Against All Odds is an enlightening biography of the president of Zambia, Edgar Lungu. Zambian journalist Anthony Mukwita details the life of this dedicated leader and his political foes. If the political tell-all Game Change had an African counterpart, Against All Odds would possibly be that book.

Lungu was a successful lawyer in the southern African nation of Zambia until he served as minister of defense under President Sata. After the death of the longtime president in 2014, Lungu decided to run for president, but faced opposition from opponents alleging fraud in the election. Despite the controversy and political rancor, Lungu became the new leader of Zambia in 2015 and was reelected in 2016.

Mukwita effectively details Lungu’s improbable rise to power. Defying the stereotypes of an African dictator, Lungu became the leader of Zambia in a peaceful, but turbulent, election. Mukwita also writes about Lungu’s accomplished life leading up to his career in politics, along with Zambian political history. The ideas within the biography are original, with detailed descriptions of the elections in Zambia through all the recounts. It is part biography, part gossipy political tale with interesting tidbits about Lungu’s political rivals.

The book is well researched, with newspaper articles and radio interviews serving as original source material. The images throughout the book add depth, and include election ballots and photos from Lungu’s trips as president in Zambia and abroad. Against All Odds also contains helpful time lines of Lungu’s career and Zambian political history.

As a point of comparison for international readers, Mukwita effectively parallels the Zambian elections to the highly competitive 2008 primary campaign between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The drama of the Zambian election is similar to previous American elections, which could widen the book’s readership to include political biography aficionados. Even though these politicians are not widely known outside of Africa, the competitiveness and infighting of the elections makes Against All Odds a universal political tale.

The book is well organized, with a table of contents that moves from Zambia’s past to Lungu’s present as leader. Book sections are meticulously arranged, from Lungu’s rise to power to the probable future political career of Lungu’s daughter. The book seamlessly connects Lungu’s tough-as-nails professional life at the beginning to his more sensitive personal life as husband and father at the end. Mukwita shows the multidimensional side of Lungu throughout the book, from a hardened military leader to a president meeting the pope.

In telling the story of how Lungu calmed the volatile transfer of power in Zambia, Against All Odds is an engaging political biography.

Reviewed by Ella Vincent

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Load Next Review