“As the reviewer, Gen. Usman did not judge The Buhari In Us by his own intentions, rather he evaluated it by the intention of the author.”
Book review session is an integral component of a book launch as it provides the would-be readers and buyers the opportunity to have a glimpse of the content of the book waiting to be unveiled. The book review is a serious session and it’s mainly handled by thorough and sound individuals.
In the last decade, I have attended a quite a number of book launch and I observed that it one of the sessions the audience display their flagrant disdain for the occasion and the person for whom they have gathered. To them, book review session is boring and full of discourses that lack glamour and allure. It’s during the review session that the audience would remember to gauge the distance between the time of arrival and the departure time.
While the book reviewer has the capacity to add colour and gravitas to a book launch; it can equally mar the event; it all depends on the character of the reviewer. However, when you have an eloquent personality and trained communication professional like Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman as a reviewer, be rest assured of not only an intellectually robust review, but a review that will hold the audience spellbound.
For those who attended the public presentation of The Buhari In Us which held on 22nd June, 2021 at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Mambilla, Asokoro, Abuja, one of the personalities that cannot easily be forgotten was Gen. S.K Usman, the book reviewer. As a man who communicates with professional elegance, the retired but not tired Army General and former Spokesperson to the Nigerian Army, electrified the hall with his simple and perfect delivery of about 1500 words review.
It is true that a book review offers a concise plot summary of the book, provide an evaluation of the work and finally offers a recommendation for the audience. The tone, style and finesse with which Gen SK Usman weaved the above brought extra panache to book review. He gave adequate reasons the guests must leave the hall with at least a copy of the book.
Gen. Usman knew how relevant time was to the distinguished guests who were drawn from all works of life; he ensured that every moment counted. He also recognised the diversity of the audience and as such, he kept his presentation simple and riveting, without losing the intellectual balm that defines book reviews. In some instances, as Gen. Usman ravages the nook and crannies of the book, he conjures and paints his impression of the book using graphics and other visual tools, all of which kept the guests glued, enthralled; it also threw them into an elastic ecstasy, a moment whose taste and aroma never go stale.
As the reviewer, Gen. Usman did not judge The Buhari In Us by his own intentions, rather he evaluated it by the intention of the author. While reflecting on this, what an American novelist, poet, short-story writer, art critic, and literary critic, John Hoyer Updike once said, resonated in me so strongly. He said: “Do not imagine yourself the caretaker of any tradition, an enforcer of any party standards, a warrior in any ideological battle, a corrections officer of any kind.”
No doubt, that Sani Kukasheka Usman review of The Buhari In Us reveals that he is not just a General of the Nigerian Army, it is equally an affirmation that the General is a quintessential public speaker. I’m surely looking forward to attending many public presentation of books where General S.K Usman would be made the book reviewer. You too, should.