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Africa: Land of the Sun [Hardcover]

John Reader , Michael Lewis


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Book Description

1 Sep 2001
Thirteen/WNET and National Geographic Television have joined forces to create a television event for Fall 2001 - Africa: Land of the Sun - and 8-hour film series showing the majesty and wonder of this remarkable land. The series will be shot on location by some of the world's best filmmakers, and will be produced in a theatrical style to underscore the epic nature of Africa's history, the splendor of it's landscapes, and the beauty and power inherent in these portraits of places, people, and animals. Scientific evidence suggests that the first humans emerged on the continent of Africa. There, our ancestors learned to stand upright, find food, and survive against predators. They developed languages and cultures and migrated to settle all the habitable land of African and eventually the entire world. Despite this primal connection, Africa remains a mysterious land; a place associated with famine, slavery, frightening diseases, and incomprehensible tribalism. An equally common image is that of a giant safari park. For millions of African-Americans, Africa is a distant homeland, placed beyond the bounds of memory by the breach of slavery. This series and its companion book will capture the geographic life story of Africa - how life evolved and flourished there, adopting a unique and complex vibrancy over time in response to the environment. This is an ecological portrait of Africa, its peoples, flora, and fauna. The series will show, for the first time, a consolidated image of Africa by presenting its diverse regions and complex history within the context of its geography - its natural wonders and ecological challenges. In doing so, the series tells one of the greatest stories on earth: the story of human evolution and human survival against remarkable odds.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding introduction to Africa 30 Sep 2001
By Ein Kunde - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an excellent book for anyone who might find Reader's earlier book "A Biography of the Continent" too much of a good thing. "Africa" explores many of the same themes and issues, but the information is arranged differently and there are more illustrations; this book is aimed at the educated lay-reader. Still it is an important and outstanding book. Reader is a good writer and his research and grasp of a myriad of disciplines related to his subject is impressive.
The story is told by geography: Savanna, Desert, Rain Forest, Mountains, Sahel, Great Lakes, Coast, Southern Africa. Being a "companion" to the PBS/NGS TV series there is some (but not much) focus on the people who appeared in the television documentaries. Mostly Reader tells the stories behind the story; his history of Africa is as much about the environmental, geographical, and physiological as merely chronological. For example, Reader tells why bananas and plantains are so important in African history; what makes camels so invaluable in the Sahara, how sickle cells and malaria are related, even the advantages and disadvantages of walking upright. Of course there is some in-this-year-such-and-such happened, but that is kept to a minimum. This "Africa" is not only an outstanding introduction to Africa, it should also be of interest to any Africanist.
The photographs by Michael Lewis are good enough to be a book of their own; they combine with Reader's well organized and informative text to make "Africa" an excellent portrait of the continent. Reader's "Biography of the Continent" is also highly recommended.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A concise yet comprehensive look at a fascinating continent 16 Dec 2001
By JLind555 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Africa" is the companion volume to the recent PBS series of the same name, and like the series, is organized into eight parts, each one focusing on a particular geographical region of the continent. In clear, concise language, John Reader gives us the historical and geographical background of each area, the current economic and social structure, and the problems affecting the particular region. The photographs are mind-blowing; they are so gorgeous that they almost dominate the excellent text. The one disappointment, for one who has also seen the PBS series, is that the book doesn't follow the individual stories of people in depth as the PBS production did; however, no one who hasn't seen the TV production will miss it, and it in no way detracts from the overall value of the book. This is one book about the "dark continent" that does the continent, and its people, proud.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A satisfactory book 12 Mar 2010
By R. Brown-Wright - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I liked this book well enough. I was looking for a book with more pictures when I purchased it, so I was a little disappointed. However there are beautiful pictures and enjoyable writing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow shipping, but quality book 27 Sep 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book would have cost me triple at my campus bookstore, so I decided to use Amazon to order this book! The quality of the book was great (even better than the new ones in the bookstore), but it did not come with a dust jacket like it stated in the description. Also there was no need to spend that extra money for quick shipping, because the book took FOREVER to get to my house...I ordered it before classes started and was delayed in reading chapters due to the late shipping. Book was great, but due to the time in shipping I would think twice about ordering from Amazon or this seller again (especially if it was a textbook for school ).
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forensic Buff 8 April 2009
By Sharon K. Bush - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoy this book best of all on Africa.It includes everything and the pictures are terrific. If you want to read a book on Africa, I recommend this one.
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