In the powerful essay “Africa’s Tarnished Name,” for example, he returns to his highly polemical 1975 assessment of Joseph Conrad’s racism in “Heart of Darkness.” Adamantly refusing the notion that the British writer’s portrayal of African barbarity might be excused by his socio-historical context, Achebe makes Conrad, the man, answerable for the offensive stereotypes he promulgates as a writer. Comparing Conrad’s novel to other European portraits of Africa and its peoples, Achebe concludes that “without doubt, the times in which we live influence our behavior, but the best or merely the better among us . . . are never held hostage by their times.”
That is from a New York Times review of Chinua Achebe’s book of essays, “The Education of a British-Protected Child”.