Charles Taylor and Liberia: Ambition and Atrocity in Africa's Lone Star State Paperback – 13 Oct 2011
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'A book destined to become essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the tragedy that was Liberia. A truly fascinating read.' -- Linda Melvern, author of 'A People Betrayed'
'Bold in its design as is it piercing in its content, this study dissects Charles Taylor's ruthless and bloody quest for power and wealth. More than a mere account of the enigmatic Taylor, this illuminating analysis is ultimately a biography of the Liberia Civil War, one which examines the politics of violence in relation to the economic, socio-political conditions and processes that underpinned and led to war, terror and corruption.' --Prof. Mamadou Diouf, Institute of African Studies, Columbia University
'Colin Waugh's book reads like a thriller. Carefully researched, it gives us remarkable insights into the life of one of the most notorious warlords, turned national leader to emerge from Africa in the later part of the 20th century. 'Charles Taylor and Liberia' is an invaluable contribution towards understanding the brutal civil wars that ravaged Liberia and Sierra Leone and their ramifications on the West African sub-region.' --Ambassador Francis Tsegah, Diplomat and Senior Research Fellow, Ghana Centre for Democratic Development
About the Author
Colin Waugh grew up in Scotland and was educated in the UK before pursuing careers in writing and publishing, financial markets and international post-conflict work. The latter led him to live and travel in over twenty countries in Africa over the past two decades. In 2004 he wrote 'Paul Kagame and Rwanda', a career narrative of the current President of Rwanda. From 1996-97 he worked in Sierra Leone and later in Ghana, a country of refuge for many Liberians, before returning to Sierra Leone and Liberia itself in 2002, Charles Taylor's last full year in power.
Mr. Waugh currently lives in London, and recently has served on the advisory board of Columbia University s Institute of African Studies and as director of Lombard Street Associates in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
In terms of the evidence probided, the author gives us not only a multitude of statistics, but also numerous, well-selected quotes from a variety of relevant people, including those close to Taylor. This kind of evidence brings the events to life for us as readers and gives us insight into the context in which these horrendous events took place.
Waugh has succeeded in creating a highly readable account. For the most part, especially during the places where the story is told chronologically, the narrative flows in a way which makes you not want to stop reading. On occasion, however there are some disjointed transitions. These generally occur in places where Waugh has digressed to give further detail on topics such as the general conditions prevailing in Taylor's Greater Liberia. It can be difficult in these places to keep hold of where each of the pieces fit within the complex story being told. Overall, however, these are few, and do not detract from a generally fluid style. I highly recommend this book to all who want to undestand this period of history and the personalities who made it.
This is not a novel, of course, but it's a thorougly accessible essay. You don't need to be an expert about African history and issues to be able to enjoy it. I personally found a little bit too detailed the part referring to Taylor's war in the 90s, but this could be a merit for some other reader. To sum it up: well written and deeply informing.
What was also eye opening was the extent to which countries instigate or support insurgencies in their neighbours' territory, in some cases for quite personal reasons. There is also some interesting information regarding Sirleaf's (the current President and doyenne of the donor community) relationship with Taylor and her involvement in the civil war.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Charles Taylor was born of an Americo-Liberian father and a native mother. Educated in the United States he served in Sergeant Doe's government went the disgruntled soldier overthrew the admittedly flawed but democratically-elected government. Then he went to Libya where he and some followers received terrorist training. A combination of terror tactics against the hated Doe regime turned him into a warlord in control of much of Liberia in the 1990s. Later his unpaid "army" of looters would be involved in wars amongst all of Liberia's neighbors. It is hard to believe that one man could cause so much suffering.
Well-written but repititious in places. Illustrated with black-and-white photos.
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