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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive overview, very heavy content, 24 May 2012
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This review is from: Africa Since Independence: A Comparative History (Paperback)
This is a fantastic history of Africa. However, there are some things to bear in mind before buying / reading that are worth highlighting:

Nugent himself admits that the book is probably better used in small doses, for dipping in and out when information on a particular issue is wanted. To read from cover to cover is quite a heavy effort; I only did this as it was a recommended summary text for a course on Postcolonial Africa. The density of the information makes this quite dry and in certain instances, he assumes a certain level of knowledge - in other words extending a narrative, rather than building it up from rock bottom.

In saying that, throughout the course of the book, he charts the histories of a vast array of different African countries from the colonial period, through the struggle of independence, to the present day (2003-ish). As well as documenting the individual stories of countries, he analyses by theme as well so the reader can approach the text looking for country-specific information, or concept-specific content (i.e. liberal democracy, socialism, military rule and so on).

As with many histories of Africa, it is quite date and name heavy; ironically, one of the chapters talks of the 'invasion of the acronyms'; as much as this can be applied to NGOs, SAPs and the like, it could also be applied to African history texts. This book does not change that theme. In a couple of instances, pages are so covered in abbreviated party names that it is very easy to lose the thread of what is going on, especially when there are a few clear misprints. At a very picky level, there are quite a few niggly printing errors but not so many as to become completely annoying.

All in all, it is a thoroughly comprehensive and engaging, if challenging, text. An excellent resource for study and consolidating / expanding learning; it is probably not a good text if the reader seeks a general, light overview or introduction to African history. There is also a new edition due for release in June 2012, which will no doubt include useful updates (at one point, he talks of South Sudanese succession seeming more distant than ever (!)).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong comparative analysis, 10 Jun 2006
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Oli (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Africa Since Independence: A Comparative History (Paperback)
Nugent's comparative framework is very helpful as it allows his text to provide a clear overview at an all-Africa level while also giving space to depth local analysis. A strength of this history rests in its scope as cultural and social comment is located within discussions of political or economic history. During the opening sections of 'Africa Since Independence' Nugent also provides a stimulating survey of theoretical and historiogaphical debates, hence bringing his analysis into dialogues with debates raised by postcolonial, developement or globalization theories.
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Africa Since Independence: A Comparative History
Africa Since Independence: A Comparative History by Professor Paul Nugent (Paperback - 24 Jun 2004)
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