61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Concise introduction to a complex continent,
This review is from: Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles (Hardcover)
This book is almost 600 pages long, and still feels like an abridged account of Africa. I actually thought it was pretty bold to call the book 'Africa' - like a little boy with a toy gun calling himself a cowboy, so I approached the book expecting to disparage it immediately. Having grown up in some of the countries written about in the book, I realized Dowden had actually lived through it enough to warrant telling the tale. I believe this book far outranks many of the history books on Africa, and should be required reading for all high school kids.
Post colonial Africa evokes different types of emotions depending on which side of the railway line you grew up on, so its easy to understand why descendants of the colonialists themselves might not find this an easy read. Dowden places a great deal of the blame for Africa's woes squarely on them and other factors like foreign aid. My opinion is biased because I tend to agree.
Those without any type of bias will find the book extremely fascinating. Discovering Africa through Dowden has left me feeling that I should make the same commitment and re-discover the beautiful continent of Africa.