Customer Review

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even beter than the Bottom Billion?, 22 April 2009
This review is from: Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places (Hardcover)
I came late to the Bottom Billion and by the time I had finished it this sequel had just arrived. I got it straight away. It follows the same approach of using rigorous academic analysis and then drawing conclusions and action plans.

The analysis of elections, ethnic identity, coups and wars is stimulating and set in the context of UK, US and European developments, not least in that mysterious period in UK history between the end of the Romans and somewhere around 1500 - which is much like Africa today. The proposals for progress are sensible and are built around accountability and security. The penultimate chapter title is "Better dead than fed" and sums up the relationship between food (survival) and the opportunities from federations.

Readers of the Bottom Billion will be pleased to know that this book includes a full list of the countries in an appendix. Both books went to press before the "Lehman disconnect" and the onset of the latest financial and economic crisis: we must hope that the third in the series will not be called the bottom two billion. Some countries, such as Pakistan which gets a passing mention, seem determined to join Afghanistan and the five Central Asian states in the list - and none seem inclined to leave.

In truth, the book mostly concentrates on Africa - anyone wanting to know more about the likes of Bolivia, Cambodia, the Central Asian states or Haiti will not find much here other than general principles.

Professor Collier has an engaging style and as well as being stimulating it is a good read as well. He is a master of the colon: I know of no other book with as many. His occasional intemperate outbursts are a joy. This is a really good book for anyone interested in the world around them, Africa, aid, the application of academic research to real-life problems - and on many other levels too. Recommended.
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