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ISBN13: 9780743232227
ISBN10: 0743232224
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A brilliant, sweeping history of post-colonial Africa, exploring the continent's troubled trajectory from the optimism of the independence era to the seemingly intractable problems it faces today.

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Charles Percy, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by Charles Percy)
I am an African, from the Southernmost tip. I am therefore relatively familiar with much of the contents of this book.
I found this study thoroughly researched, very well assembled and easy to read. Consequently, I also found much with which I was not familiar. This would almost certainly be true for most Northern hemisphere readers.
The story is simultaneously both exciting and and incredibly saddening. That the most direct descendants of the world's first humans could, over the ensuing centuries, especially the latest 50-odd years of them, achieve so little advancement and so much self-destruction must be one of the world's most disappointing historical phenomena.
The story opens with the achievement of freedom from colonial rule by the newly fledged state of Ghana, under Kwame Nkruma, and continues up to 2005, with question marks over the immediate future of Zimbabwe and South Africa, respectively. Consistently, as each state in the continent of Africa obtained its 'freedom', it began, within a generation, to slide into a sort of anarchic spiral, with 'big men' emerging as self appointed, despotic rulers, who ran the country for their own benefit and that of their families and supporters. Invariably and in due course, the country would become ungovernable, the regime genocidal, and the economy ruined.
The book makes for engrossing reading, and its many pages turn easily and rapidly. To my mind this is possibly the best of Martin Meredith's socio- econo-political studies of a subject on which he has made himself an authority. I'v enjoyed most of his books on Africa, and recommend them to anyone who seeks a clear view of the continent which persists in maintaining its darkness'.
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