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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece!
For a very thick book I read this in a week and a half. Very well written and easy to read but researched in such a way to add serious credibility. The environmental, historical and anthropological detail that Reader employs is very effective. It helps banish to history the stereotypes and false impressions about Africa that have prevailed for centuries.

Some...
Published on 21 Jan 2005 by B. Russell

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4 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very imformative
Good book, but very very detailed and very hard to wade through. Still have not finished it over a year later. Will one day!
Published on 15 Feb 2004 by lukemv


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5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous and monumental, 8 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Africa: A Biography of the Continent (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book. Hardly a page goes by without some intriguing revelation, and there are a *lot* of pages. John Reader has clearly done a massive amount of research (as his bibliography shows) but he passes it on lightly. Every fact is relevant, and carefully chosen to illuminate his current topic.
This is a history of Africa in the very broadest sense - geology, palaeontology, archaeology, biology, linguistics, genetics and documentary sources are all deployed in weaving together the story of a continent. Even more remarkably, the work is presented in themed chapters that more or less stand alone - here is a little dissertation on the practicalities of agriculture in the tropics; here is a study of the slave trade; here is a description of diamond mining at Kimberley; here is a reflection on the motives and character of the Voortrekkers. But it all fits together, and builds to a coherent whole!
If you love broad, transdisciplinary, thought-provoking works like Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel", then buy this book. Do it now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very capable biography of the worlds most interesting continent, 19 Jan 2013
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The book is Impressive in its ability to translate a huge volume of history in such a readable and interesting way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read, 9 Feb 2012
This review is from: Africa: A Biography of the Continent (Paperback)
I read a lot and this is one of the best books I have read. The progression through the work, and the scope, begininning with geology and moving through anthropology, history and politics is impressive. As is the analysis which is inciteful, comprehensive and fair. I work in Africa and this is a book I give to my colleagues both international and African.
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5.0 out of 5 stars That's Africa Baby, 25 Feb 2010
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Mr. N. Foale "electronic word" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Africa: A Biography of the Continent (Paperback)
Lives up to its title. It starts in geological time and then shifts up through the gears. We get evolution and man's emergence uniquely here. We see slavery established well before first Arabian and then European opportunists move into trafficking humans from Africa.

Africa is a continent the study of which builds our universal consciousness. The author unsentimentally contrasts romantic ideas of Africa against the vast, ancient continent itself. As Europeans we need to understand the turmoil caused by our 19th Century race to grab African land, and the post World War Two decolonisation that followed.

I read this while travelling in Africa and passed it on to companions, who were soon hooked. Such is this book. It is a feast.

P.S. Thoroughly sets the scene for these Africa classics: Congo Journey, Heart of Darkness, The Tree Where Man Was Born, The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life, Exterminate All the Brutes, Cry of the Kalahari
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and broad ranging, 25 Dec 2010
A great overview of the development of the human species, am only a 1/4 of the way through and learning something new every page. Fascinating, but six months on I'm only half way through so have downgraded to four stars.
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4 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very imformative, 15 Feb 2004
This review is from: Africa: A Biography of the Continent (Paperback)
Good book, but very very detailed and very hard to wade through. Still have not finished it over a year later. Will one day!
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Africa: A Biography of the Continent
Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader (Paperback - 5 Nov 1998)
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