A Liberian life of extremesby Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Growing up in Liberia, Helene Cooper had an idyllic childhood. A direct descendent of two of the founders of the country, she lived with her wealthy parents and her sisters in a beautiful house by the sea.
But it all came crashing down during the bloody coup of 1980, when the family had to flee Liberia to the U.S.
Today Cooper is a diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times, traveling the world to cover major conflicts.
She has written a memoir called "The House at Sugar Beach," which tells her family's story.
Her family's history began in the 1820s, with the arrival in Liberia of free blacks from America. The new arrivals saw themselves as superior to the locals, and they became the ruling elite.
Helene Cooper told Minnesota Public Radio's Euan Kerr she now understands her ancestors unwittingly sowed the seeds which led to the violence that consumed Liberia.
- All Things Considered, 09/16/2008, 4:49 p.m.