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The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence Paperback – 6 Jun 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs,U.S. (6 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586483986
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586483982
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.2 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 862,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer and historian who has written extensively on Africa. His previous books include "In the Name of Apartheid; Nelson Mandela; Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe;" and "Elephant Destiny." He lives near Oxford, England.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We are advised to buy 'Fate of Africa' together with 'State of Africa', but they are the same book - 'Fate' is the US edition, 'State' is the UK edition. It's a very good account of the history of Africa, but I for one don't need two copies and would not have bought 'Fate' if I'd known it was the same as 'State', which I bought from Amazon 2 years ago. This is not the first time I have been misled in this way; Amazon really needs to provide better bibliographic details to help customers avoid wasting their money.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a new book just released by the author Martin Meredith. He was an African based reporter for 15 years and more recently an Oxford fellow. He is the author of many pieces including about a half dozen books on Africa. Some examples are the following: Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe, Elephant Destiny: Biography of an Endangered Species in Africa, Nelson Mandela: A Biography. There are probably few people anywhere in the world today that are more qualified to write this present book than is Meredith. In my humble opinion, the book is essential nonfiction reading for anyone interested in current events and world history. Africa is a continent with 800 million people, and by any reasonable measure probably they are in the most dire straights of all the earth's peoples.
The author has written the present book that covers the last fifty years in detail, but really it covers most coutries farther back with many references going back to the mid 19th century and earlier. This is a comprehensive 700 page book in medium to small font and I think it takes a few weeks to read and absorb all the details. He has a very brief introduction with historical maps of Africa and it is followed up with about ten pages of notes and comments at the back of the book, plus a number of references for further reading. I have just begun to read the book, but I have skimmed most of the book briefly to get an overall grasp of the writings. He goes through essentially every country in Africa from the north to the south tip, east to west, country by country, decade by decade describing colonial intrusions, resource and country trading by the big colonial powers, revolution, dictatorships, wars, military actions, famines, economic disasters, racism, and on and on.
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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Aug. 2005
Format: Hardcover
In its 750 pages, this book thoroughly and meticulously charts the history of Africa since independence. Dealing with every single country, it explores and analyses the reasons for the continent's dismal failure. Although it provides a plethora of facts and figures, the work is an accessible and compelling read as it charts the bitter history of 50 years of independence from its hopeful beginnings to today's poverty and despair. Some passages may however upset the sensitive reader.
Africa has been cursed with corrupt and incompetent leaders who never cared for their people. There have been at least 40 successful and many more unsuccessful coup attempts over the past five decades, whilst the latest fashion is to hold sham elections as happened recently in Zimbabwe. Wherever there are natural resources like oil, the money ends up in the pockets of small ruling cliques while most ordinary people live in misery.
The rest of Africa has followed Ghana's example. The first African state to gain independence in 1957, the country was bankrupt within 8 years. Upon taking power, African leaders appointed their cronies in government instead of properly trained civil servants, of which there weren't many to begin with. These ruling elites indulged in corruption, oppression and bribery from the beginning. Today the whole continent produces less than Mexico.
The rogue's gallery of African despots includes Amin, Bokassa, Mobutu, Nyerere, Banda, Mugabe, Kaunda, Kenyatta, Mengistu, Nasser, Nguema and Nkrumah. The extent of the corruption has given rise to the term Kleptocracy. Meredith also looks at other reasons for the failure of Africa, for example rapid population increases and trade protectionism in the West.
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Format: Hardcover
A FATE OF AFRICA is a beautifully written work that provides a fascinating insight into the continent's history, underdevelopment and civil strife. Devoid of sentimentality and full of objectivity, the author conveys the deep message, which explains not only the resilience of the continent but also the ravages that it has been subjected to throughout its turbulent history. Behind the tragedies of the continent are the heavy hands of the ex-colonial masters and the exploitative drives of some business concerns working in partnership with African dictators, psychopaths and administrative kleptomaniacs that have power and are excluding the people in the running of the land. With more piteous prospects than any other continent, Africa mirrors the failures of humanity as well as its hopes and reams.
Other titles that treat this African malaise are DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE , AFRICA UNCHAINED, THE SCHACKLED CONTINENT, TRIPLE AGENT DOUBLE CROSS. Together these titles exposed the personal and collective problems of the people and the personal and collective efforts made, and the means and ways to take the Africa forward despite all the constrains.
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