Friday, December 18, 2020

About the Book (See diary below)

If you’re interested in Africa and want to know more about West Africa but don’t like non-fiction books, here’s an historical novel for you.

It’s a story about Kofi, a 17-year-old member of the Ashanti tribe in what is now central Ghana. In 1900, when the story takes place, it is part of the British colonial system.

Kofi goes to hear the British governor, who was visiting from the coast to give a speech. In it the governor tells the Africans they will have to pay certain fees, that their kidnapped chief will not be returned to them, and he demands to sit on the Golden Stool. These and other pronouncements infuriate the Ashantis, and they go to war.

Kofi, who does not believe in violence, is caught up in the war with many misgivings. He is very fond of Trudi, a school friend and the daughter of one of the missionaries, and doesn’t want her to suffer.

The Africans besiege the Kumasi fort in which the governor, his wife and son and British soldiers are residing and in which Swiss missionaries have taken shelter. In the fort, Trudi befriends Paul, the son of the governor, and the young man also is attracted to the self-centered girl.

The siege continues for more than two months, after which most of the Europeans escape. Before they part, Trudi promises to wait for Paul to finish his college studies.

Kofi has become intensely anti-European, and vows to spend his life as a freedom fighter.

Most of the events and characters, with the exception of Kofi, Trudi and Paul, are historical. I was fortunate in that the British governor’s wife published a book in which she described life in the fort during the siege, so I have not only historians’ accounts of the Ashantis’ conduct of the war, but an insider’s view of the besieged.

Ashanti Saga: The Fort is a Young Adult book, but adults of all ages enjoy reading it. It is available at Amazon and


I’m currently on a tour of Florida, Texas, California and the Pacific Northwest (and points in between) from mid-January to mid-April. I am speaking, giving PowerPoint presentations about West Africa and signing my book along the way.


I first went to Ghana in 1961 as a member of the first U.S. Peace Corps group to go to work anywhere in the world. I taught science there for two years, and in 1964 I became Deputy Director of the Peace Corps in Ibadan, Nigeria. In 1968 I went back to Ghana to teach in Accra, leaving in 1972.

Early in 2008 I was contacted by some former students at the the high school in Accra, who informed me they were endowing a scholarship at the school and naming it “The Alice R. O’Grady Award for Excellence in Science.” They presented me with a round-trip ticket to Ghana so I could go to Accra and present the first award to a student at the school, which I did in September, 2008.