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The Africans Paperback – 28 Jun 1988

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Product details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; With a New Preface and Epilogue, Vintage Books Ed edition (28 Jun. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394753089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394753089
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 514,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 May 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book more than a decade ago and have to agree with the good reviews this book is still getting.
I was at the time pleasantly surprised to find a foreign journalist writing such a balanced account on Africa. When I read the book (in the mid Eighties) South Africa was still very isolated from the rest of Africa. This book gave me a window on Africa north of us and fascinated me. I always judge any media (newspaper, books TV, whatever) on their coverage of that with which I am familiar. If I find that to be well balanced and true, I will trust the rest of the material covering things I might not be familiar with. This book passed with flying colours. For example it pointed out the lunacy of Apartheid, while not hiding the fact that it was the only African country with a well functioning infrastructure, civil service etc
The book is neither left nor right. It gives it as it is. Indeed a very rare talent for a journalist. Lamb for example pointed out the world's hypocrisy regarding South Africa. The country was internationally isolated because of statutory racial discrimination and a lack of democracy. Yet the ethnic cleansing going on all over Africa on a grand scale was (and still is) ignored. There was (and still is) virtually no democracy anywhere, massive corruption, very little human rights etc, etc while nobody batted an eye.
That is tragically still the case. Africa is in bigger chaos than when David Lamb wrote his book, but still nobody seems to be willing to take a tougher stand and condemn African governments for what they are - useless.
He pointed out this *real* racial discrimination. South Africa was not allowed to run an undemocratic outfit because "white people can't behave like that!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Aug. 1998
Format: Paperback
Like many others, I discovered this book while traveling in Africa. I was not very up on Sub-Saharan African history and the book was a huge wake up call. I have heard that this book is illegal to sell in Africa because it focuses on the harsh realities of corruption and all other unfortunate situations that have occured in the continent. I would hope that anyone interested in Africa or anyone at all would read this book.
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Format: Paperback
A social, cultural and historical view of the issues facing our most diverse continent. This is not a dry history book - Lamb delivers even statistics with relevant stories and profiles of Africans - from the poorest to the most powerful.
I read this book in preparation for a safari in Kenya. I had no background on "black Africa" from school - history classes seem to ignore any African country south of Egypt. Lamb's book provided me with insight and understanding of why things are the way the are in Africa - and helped temper my Western way of looking at the world.
The book is organized into chapters which are easily read in one sitting. Lamb draws on lessons from history, personal observations (he lived there for four years) and the observences of Africans to weave a story of a continent on the verge of major change. The book emphasizes the beauty of the land while honeslty speaking of the tragedies of the past (and future).
My only wish is that The Africans had been updated for the 90's.
I am looking forward to reading The Arabs, also by Lamb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Jan. 1999
Format: Paperback
I read a lot of history books and too many of them are extremely dry. This book is what a history book SHOULD be like. It covers the history of many African countries but reads like a novel and avoids the usual slant that other history books have: the blame for all the problems in Africa is shared among several camps, not just the colonialists OR the Africans.
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By A Customer on 25 Feb. 1998
Format: Paperback
For a 371 page book last published over ten years age about a continent made up of 50+ countries, The Africans is a good book. Because of all of those limitations just listed, it does have its short comings. This book should be taken for what it is - a journalist's account of what Lamb learned by travelling around Africa for four years. This is not an academic account of a complicated continent. What The Africans does provide is a good introduction to the geography and politics of a continent. Because it was written 15 years ago, some of the countries Lamb had high hopes for (Nigeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe) have not turned out as he predicted, and some of the countries that he dispaired (Uganda, Ghana) have turned out to be the shining stars of the 1990's in Africa. Of course, on such a dynamic continent, most predictions are bound to be proven inaccurate.
All in all, it is a good read and offers up some good facts as well.
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