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3.7 out of 5 stars11
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 16 August 2005
I saw the documentary on the BBC and admired Geldof's "in your face" approach to Africa's history. When it credited him for all the writing, I was happy to find this book and indeed, his diary style writing has more of an impact than most African history books written by scholars and historians who possibly never even visited our motherland. His comments are sharp and inspired and do justice to the complex situation in Africa through first hand experiences. At this price, it is clear to me that the money goes into the production of this big and picture intensive book (it is made in Germany, not Taiwan) and if there's any money left, well Geldof deserves it for educating us the way no other dares to, and hopefully will make sure he brings us more quality products such as this book in the future! Why would people criticise him for releasing such wonderful book when the same people won't mind paying for a Cola or a chocolate bar (both ingredients are still at the root of African child slavery)? The irony...
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on 27 December 2006
This book was one of those almost accidental purchases driven by the thought of 24 hours on a plane and a lack of decent reading material in the airport bookstore.

It was an amazing surprise.

If you're sceptical of Geldof, or if you think a Rock star can't write prose, think again.

Geldof writes amazingly, capturing the spirit of the places he visits like some of the best Africa writers. Curiously, his prose is as emotive as Forna, Hartley, Gourevitch, Hanley or any of the other rare authors who capture the raw sense of belonging. He captures the smells, sights and sounds and writes like a man who needs to be in Africa to feel alive.

If you're one of the people who knows what I mean - get the book. In particular get the book because nobody else gets Ethiopia as well as Bob. (Well...Hancock's Sign and the Seal is good to read as you travel around Ethiopia but...).

The book is an absolute pleasure to read and makes a lot of sense. Geldof isn't constrained by political correctness or afro-apologism but is far from a pessimist. He sees the solutions to problems as simply as many of the average people he talks to - and that is uplifting.

Few authors could marry intellectual discourse, storytelling and emotional wandering as well as Geldof does here.

One downside - it does leave one wishing that Geldof could concentrate on one subject for more than a handful of pages because it's good stuff and just as you think you're tucking into a tasty dish...he's on to the next course.

Whilst you're at it, buy the hardcover - the pictures are as good as the text and it's dirt cheap for what it is. Meanwhile, I will be buying shares in Lalibela and Arouane Tour Companies cos once you see the pics, you'll want to go.
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on 27 August 2006
I don't like Bob Geldof. Its not reasonable, but I don't. But I read a review of this audio book in the Guardian, around the time I was thinking what to buy for my 14 hour ferry/drive to the South of France. So I decided to give it a go. I'm fascinated by Africa, and the review was so good I overcame my prejudice and bought it. Then I had to overcome my mother's prejudice - she dislikes Sir Bob about as much as she disliked the Queen Mum, which is not a little. She was coming down with me. I persuaded her to listen to a bit and if she didn't like it, we'd skip to either Dubliners or Nelson Mandela's autobiography.

We were hooked. We'd Bob a bit, and then listen to some music, then do some more Bobbing, as she called it. The enormous range, the passion with which he delivers statistics and stories and pithy insights, the remarkable absence of self-aggrandisement (apart from the rather slimy tributes to rock stars right at the end of the last disc), even the bits of excess purple - focking fungal, foetid smells... - where we could do with a few fewer adjectives. Who cares. He delivers information and personal experience and insight and broadened both our views of what Africa is, does, feels like, smells like.

I tried it on the teenagers who came to stay too, including my daughter. 'Oh God, not bloody Bob Geldof, I can't stand him' they shrieked, one and all. But I was driving, so I got to chose. And they caved in and got sucked in and couldn't stop listening. Although we did all agree that the richer excesses invite a Bobetition to see who can outBob him. So we are starting one.

I recommend this from my heart. If you want to get Africa, get this audiobook.
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on 17 February 2011
One of the most insightful and moving books I have ever read. Geldof writes beautifully and is an inspiration to us all.
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on 4 October 2011
Sir Bob shows his raw passion and anger at the problems he found in Africa. Stunning photographs and a stunning read.
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on 30 December 2014
The archetypal cockney wide boy, Bob Geldof has been a familiar face around the manor for some time now -- for so long, in fact, that he may now truly be, as one of his most familiar songs has it, Getting to the End of the Day; but as this book proves, this is one Old Dog capable of learning many a New Trick.
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on 20 August 2006
Geldof must be congratulated for helping to bring the terrible plight of africans to world attention. However most foreigners who live , or have lived , in Africa will find this book superficial( lots of motherhood statements- hardly original ), blaming others not africans , vague ( where was he in many of the accounts and what was he doing there ? ) and erroneous ( Yoruba are in the south of Nigeria not the north ). The ONLY real problem in Africa is the rampant corruption of virtually all governments/leaders and this stops every form of development whether it be food production or health. Geldof misses the point completely that this derives from tribal nepotism , and that goes way back to ancient clan heirachies ,which have nothing to do with outsiders. Government is based on patronage ,not on ability and is the source of ALL Africa's problems . However, no-one can doubt Bob's sincerity.
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on 1 April 2014
Well-written in an easy style, without pretension, and showing an affinity with the subject matter that gives it all an emotional underpinning. Geldof has an eye for detail, and his observations are not only insightful but occasionally amusing. The accompanying colour photographs are pretty good, and some also convey the humour to be found throughout the continent. Overall it is an interesting book, educational, and warm in its approach. Geldof should become a politician.
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on 20 February 2016
beautiful book
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on 5 November 2015
interesting !
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