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This review is from: Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles (Paperback)
Mr Dowden has been as good as it gets with African analysis for years - this is him making that expertise public.
The book is written in a journalistic way (in the best sense), in that it's superbly well written, carrying all of its insights lightly, woven into the narrative. You'll find yourself unable to devour less than an entire chapter of thirty to fifty pages at a time, unless hit by an asteroid or medium sized earthquake.
For someone who knows a lot about Africa, some of what was within was a revelation - the insights from the Zimbabwe, Angola and Sierra Leone chapters in particular had me gasping for extra oxygen.
The gripes are slight, minor and petty. In fact, there's only one worthy of mention - in the RSA chapter he repeatedly compares apartheid to Nazism. For all of what it was, that's a wrong headed comparison, suggesting that Mr Dowden's European scholarship is understandably less well digested than his African.
This isn't a debating forum so I won't go into details - the key thing is that it was one small detail in a book that couldn't be more enticing or seductive if it dressed itself up in stockings and a flimsy dress. I'd particularly welcome seeing it in the pockets of the Bonos and similar of this world, in amongst the trite and insensible arguments.
By buying and reading and digesting this book, you'll make the world a better place than by giving ten times the amount to your favourite charity.