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72 Reviews
5 star:
 (48)
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A litany of selfish greed and power lust
Few writers could do justice to the mammoth task of covering 50 years of the turbulent history of an entire continent in a single volume, but Meredith achieves just that and with considerable power and finesse. The task necessitates skipping between countries and back and forth in time but Meredith manages very successfully to bridge the potential confusion this could...
Published on 1 April 2008 by Gordon Eldridge

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65 of 75 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To be honest, it's not that good...
I studied African politics at university, and to be honest this isn't that helpful if you really want to have a good grasp of politics in Africa. It's openly journalistic: Meredith's background is as a journalist, and he doesn't reference his claims or assertions in the book, though there is a chpater by chapter guide to further reading at the back. The lack of proper...
Published on 30 Dec 2006 by E N Cuentro


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars State of Africa, Martin Meredith, 21 Sep 2009
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Ms. N. A. Ogu "Angie" (Aberdeen, UK) - See all my reviews
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Very interesting book ( I am still reading it). Delves into the colonial and post-colonial era in Africa. A must read..
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Present for my other daughter, 31 Mar 2013
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She is very interested in Africa and plans to go out there and work sometime she has already visited africa twice
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another world, 7 Nov 2011
You have to be crazy to think that Africa is just what you see in the documentaries about wildlife and tribes living in the Sahara desert. It's just shocking to see that regular people found themselves in least than 24 hours, in some cases, responsible not for their own destiny but for the destiny of millions of people. It is unbelievable how people who lecture us for centuries on civilization, justice, democracy and freedom played what we can call now: a strategy board game and, when time and space ran out, simply left! The book is a short, comprehensive and striking introduction into a totally unknown, unfriendly and terrible universe. Every page is a contrast of richness, opportunities, profit and no feelings whatsoever for the human kind.
For the person who just knows a bit about Africa, this is the best introduction into the huge history of the last 200 years. Better, it is just how to start to know Africa: read about what happened since the people of Africa turned into citizens and tribal land turned into countries. Afterward, it is only tears, blood, richness and an incredible will to survive!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and reinforcing negative stereotypes, 15 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence (Paperback)
I would agree with other reviewers who have given this book a low rating. I was brought up (in the 1960s and 70s) with a negative view from my family and the media of the ability of black Africans to successfully govern themselves. By the time the author published first this book (2006) it was already clear that several key and many other smaller sub-Saharan African countries had, after several decades of stagnation, started to forge ahead both economically and socially e.g. improved quality of governance, more democratic expression, reduced corruption, access to cheaper capital - most notably from China, greater choice of business partners as Asian and Latin American companies arrived on the scene etc..
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14 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's good, but it's not that good, 28 Dec 2005
By 
Simon Jones (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
I've read a fair bit about Africa, and it's a subject which interests me a lot. I got this book expecting a comprehensive guide to the continent's history.
And I got it, there's no denying that it's an excellent resource, but for me, It's really, really hard to read. It's not that it's too intellectual, but for me it definetly comes into the "books I have to force myself to read" category.
It's great for the resource, but if you're looking for something to get into this amazing subject with, it's probably not a smart move. Spend a bit more, and get some works by authors dedicated to their areas-Gourevitch, Fergal Keene, Linda Melvern, and so on.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will open your eyes, 18 Feb 2007
A gripping, compelling,and at times truly schocking read. Many of us remember the first Live Aid concert and this book gives real insight into what was really going on at that time. Household names including Idi Amin, Kenyatta, Mugabe, Mandela and many others are all covered.
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7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A little too detailed - heavy at times, 24 Mar 2010
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S. M. Saunders (Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I feel I must buck the trend a little here. It seems the majority of other reviewers have given this book five stars, and while I agree that on the whole it's quite an achievement, for me the author has perhaps taken on a little too much. A single-volume, 50-year history of an entire continent - a 50-nation continent at that - is a huge undertaking, and while some chapters flow, others I feel get bogged down in a little too much detail. Seven hundred pages, where the information comes thick and fast on almost every page, I found it on the whole a laborious read.

I see that the same author has written a couple of other books (on South Africa and Zimbabwe), and I may seek those out in the hope that those are a little more manageable in the depth of ground they cover.
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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best book ever written on africa, 18 Sep 2005
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C. A. blaiklock (UK) - See all my reviews
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I learnt more about Africa and the world in 1 week than I did in 3 years doing a degree in Geography at Oxford University.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A present, 19 Dec 2011
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C. Atkinson (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book for my sister for Christmas, I have flicked through the book and I think I will be borrowing it!
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A mile wide but an inch deep, 21 Feb 2011
A hugely disappointing tome; I'm just glad I borrowed it!

Meredith has in my opinion done what journalists the world over do and that is effectively re-regurgitate the work of others. To his credit he does admit this at the end but it offers little new and where he does he doesn't seem to back it up.

The swathe is broad, although, some areas e.g. Western Sahara are absent, but the depth is shallow and he doesn't get far enough under the skin of any of the individuals or movements. Its just like all the newspaper articles that have been written aggregated into a book and too Hollywood gory for me. It is also quite sensationalist and misses many of the nuances. I found it hard to read as it ducked and dived in time and location seemingly unsure how best to present the material.

There are far better reads and usually they focus on an individual or a state and in so doing one really gets a deeper understanding. Someone here has recommended a good alternative broad sweep read and I would recommend Tim Jeal's The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer as the type of book to get really under the skin of a subject and having been more thorough than any previous attempt, successfully challenge long-held opinions. Much more of a riveting read whereas this one was a endurance test. I passed but wonder why I bothered.
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The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence
The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence by Martin Meredith (Paperback - 14 Mar 2013)
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