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Blood on the Tracks: Rail Journey from Angola to Mozambique Hardcover – 30 Sep 1994

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (30 Sept. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330330330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330330336
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,585,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
Right from the first chapter, where the reader dodges bullets and drinks cocktails with arms dealers in floating gin palaces in war-torn Angola, I couldn't put ths book down. The writing was thoughful and full of insight and I greatly admired the authors courage in drawing conclusions at the end.
A refeshing and enjoyable read, sadly neglected. Perhaps if the author was better at football (or married to a pop star), this book would have received the attention it deserved!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Man Crowd on 28 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
If you would be allowed to read only one book about Africa , this is the one.I have been re-reading it at least twice a year since 1995. It is always on my table.If you want even to begin understanding why Africa is the way it is- you have to read this book. There are no two ways about it. It does not matter much who you are by profession , status ,etc- student , soldier, pensioneer , doctor, aspiring TLA ( three letter agency )worker , tramp or film director - you will find gems for your own heart there. I love Miles- the author , I love Harriet- the photographer , I love everything about this book. Miles , if you read this , go on , get in touch with Bennoit- ask his permission- I am sure he will grant it- and write a book about him.
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Format: Paperback
A must read book on Africa. This is not just for the railway enthusiast, but for the social historian. So sad that nothing seems to change in the countries involved. So sad.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Miles Bredin and Harriet Logan capture the essence of Angola 1 Mar. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
After having spent nearly three years in Angola with an international organization, I have my own views on Angola, the Government and the laboured peace process and left Angola more than a little cynical. Mr. Bredin and Ms. Logan's book covers not only Angola, but (the former)Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It was with great pleasure that I read the book which also accounts the tumultuous events in Angola of 1992, all related with a healthy dose of humour. It brought back a lot of good memories for me and I feel it really captured the essense of the country and the people, not only of Angola, but the other countries through which the Benguela Railroad passes. Armed with this book, I visited some of the major towns along the railway including Benguela and Huambo during my time there, a fascinating experience made all the better by "Blood on the Tracks". An excellent book and a great introduction to the realities of life in Southern Africa.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
derailed... 31 Oct. 2007
By Bruce Lilley - Published on
Format: Paperback
The premise behind Miles Bredin's trip, to travel across Southern Africa by rail, was a great idea, but he never even came close to fulfilling the subtitle of the book "A Rail Journey from Angola to Mozambique". Travelling as a journalist, he doesn't seem to spend a lot of time filing reports as much as he does looking for a good place for a drink, or begging for free plane trips from aid agencies. He mentions that he had trouble receiving compensation from the paper he was supposed to be reporting for... maybe that's indicative of his reporting efforts. He actually doesn't board a train until page 130, and its in Zambia, the only country that managed to avoid any sort of civil war through the present.

Granted, nobody could travel in Angola during the civil war, and the resurgence after the 1992 elections, and he does make it from Zambia, through Zimbabwe and Mozambique, but anyone could do that when the countries are peaceful. All Bredin does in this book is remark on the poverty of the people, how corrupt the governments are, and how aid agencies are almost useless, and offers no solutions himself. But there are a million better written books about Africa, and he adds little to the subject of Africa's poverty, and why its so bad, and who is ultimately to blame, except to suggest.... America! He says very little of British and French colonialism and neo-colonialism as a cause, but put lots of blame on the USA. And its particularly ironic that Bredin uses the rail system as a basis of his observations of the problems of Africa; the rail system built by the British and French colonialists (and that includes tracks in Angola, Mozambique, and Zaire, nominally under control of Portugal and Belgium) were meant first and foremost to extract resources from the colonies and send them to the colonial powers as efficiently as possible. He never mentions this fact at all.

The worst thing for me about this book was the usual British journalist bias about what is in reality the relatively minor role of the US in the problems he writes of in this book. The recent cold war struggle between the USA and USSR is blamed for all of Africa's problems, but they didn't begin to use African countries as pawns until independence, and the specific problems of Angola and Mozambique started well before 1975. European Colonialism is hardly mentioned as the MAJOR cause of Africa's present problems. The USA deserves criticism for a lack of involvement in African affairs, but are hardly a primary cause of the continent's problems. European Colonialism is the number one cause for certain.

The last chapter of the book contains these crazy statements (all in one paragraph!): "The Americans have become an international menace..." and "The former Soviet Union was even worse." and worst of all, he writes "Britain, France and Belgium are scarcely blameless but this is not the point. It is easy to prove that the west has harmed and continues to harm Africa but Africa has also damaged itself." So there you go, Africa is a disaster because the USA, USSR and the Africans themselves are really to blame! Don't waste your time with this book.
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