About the Book
About the Book
The House at Sugar Beach is world-renowned journalist Helene Cooper’s unflinchingly honest and haunting memoir. Helene’s idyllic childhood in her family’s twenty-two-room mansion on Sugar Beach, Liberia, was changed in an instant on April 12, 1980 when the sun rose on what would become the first day of Liberia’s savage civil war. A group of soldiers staged a coup d’état, assassinating President William Tolbert and executing many members of his cabinet. Members of the privileged Congo class, including the Cooper family, became the hunted, and hundreds were imprisoned, shot, tortured, or raped. Helene and her family endured the horror before they were able to flee to the United States, leaving their foster daughter Eunice behind in Liberia.
Helene embraced the United States as a second homeland, attending a prestigious university and building a successful career in journalism. Her memoir weaves the story of her personal journey through the history of Liberia, with anecdotes from her childhood interspersed with cultural and historical accounts of Africa. Though Liberia was never far from her mind or heart, she didn’t return until twenty years after she first left. Her heartwarming reunion with her foster sister offers a glimpse of the limitless changes each of the women has undergone from those first moments of war through the twenty years of separation that followed.
The House at Sugar Beach is at once a moving personal memoir and a universal story of growth and strength against a tableau of oppression and unrest.