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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa Paperback – January 1, 1981

44 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0882580968 ISBN-10: 0882580965 Edition: Revised

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Paperback, January 1, 1981
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walter Anthony Rodney was born in Georgetown, Guyana on March 23, 1942. He is recognized as one of the Caribbean s most brilliant minds. Rodney attended Queen s College, in Guyana, and graduated first in his class in 1960, winning an open scholarship to the University of the West Indies (UWI). He attended UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica, and graduated with 1st class honors in History in 1963. Rodney then attended the School of Oriental and African Studies in London where, at the age of 24, he received his PhD with honors in African History. Rodney s thesis, A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, was published by Oxford University Press in 1970. Rodney combined his scholarship with activism and became a voice for the under-represented and disenfranchised a distinction from his academic colleagues. His interest in the struggles of the working class began at a young age with an introduction to politics by his father. His PhD thesis illustrated his duality as an intellectual and activist as he challenged the prevailing assumptions about African history and put forth his own ideas and models for analyzing the history of oppressed peoples. Influenced by the Black Power Movement in the U.S., third world revolutionaries and Marxist theory, Rodney began to actively challenge the status quo. In 1968, while a UWI professor in Jamaica, he joined others to object to the socio-economic and political direction of the government. Unlike his counterparts, however, Rodney involved the working class, including the Rastafarians (one of Jamaica s most marginalized groups) in this dialogue. His speeches to these groups were published as Grounding with My Brothers, and became central to the Caribbean Black Power Movement. Rodney's activities attracted the government s attention and after attending the 1968 Black Writers' Conference in Canada he was banned from re-entering Jamaica. This decision sparked widespread unrest in Kingston. In 1974, Rodney returned to Guyana to take an appointment as Professor of History at the University of Guyana, but the government rescinded the appointment. He remained in Guyana, joining the newly formed political group, the Working People's Alliance. Between 1974 and 1979, he emerged as the leading figure in the resistance movement against the increasingly authoritarian PNC government. He gave talks across the country to engender a new political consciousness. As the WPA gained popularity and momentum, the PNC began a campaign of harassment including police raids, house searches, and beatings. On July 11, 1979, Walter, with seven others, was arrested following the burning down of two government offices. Rodney and four others (known as the Referendum Five) faced charges of arson, but without proof, and scrutiny from international supporters, the government was forced to drop the charges. The persecution continued; two party members were killed, and the government denied Rodney permission to travel. Despite this, he continued his political work and attended Zimbabwe s independence celebrations in May 1980. Rodney s voice was also heard in the U.S. and Europe. In the early-mid 1970s, he participated in discussions and lectures with the African Heritage Studies Association at Howard University; the Institute of the Black World in Atlanta, GA; the African Studies and Research Center at Cornell University; and the State University of New York at Binghamton. On Friday, June 13, 1980, at age 38, Rodney was assassinated by a bomb while in Georgetown, Guyana. Rodney completed four books in the last year of his life: A History of the Guyanese Working People, 1881-1905; People s Power, No Dictator, and two children s books: Kofi Baadu Out of Africa and Lakshmi Out of India. Walter Rodney was married to Patricia Rodney and together they have three children Shaka, Kanini and Asha. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Howard University Press; Revised edition (January 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882580965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882580968
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Chike on November 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I beg of you, shopper, in deciding whether or not to get this book, pay attention to the reviews where it is implied that Brother Rodney blew himself up (there are five in total).

That's right - I said "pay attention", as opposed to ignore. You will see the depraved way in which some people oppose anyone whose beliefs tend toward Marxism and communism.

If you buy this extremely important book, it is true that you will be struck by Rodney's misplaced optimism about socialist countries and the way the world would develop in the future. Of course, that doesn't take away from the book's importance as far as exposing the historical effect of European imperialism.

But back to the horribly disrespectful slander - Rodney, who worked in his homeland (Guyana) against the forces that would keep people divided by race, was assassinated and it is thought that the government was behind it. He was picking up a walkie-talkie from a person who infiltrated the progressive political party he had started, and it was a bomb - so when he tested it out, it blew up. His brother was in the car with him but survived.

Walter Rodney is an inspiration to anyone who wants to see more justice and freedom in the world. He is a role model for intellectuals, activists, and people of all walks of life. His memory is important to many people around the world who know his true significance. Regardless of whether or not you agree with him ideologically, it is next to impossible to disagree with his goals (truth and freedom).

It should disgust you like it disgusts me that people would spread slanderous and cold-hearted misinformation about one of the most tragic events in Caribbean political history: the killing of Walter Rodney.
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71 of 81 people found the following review helpful By A. A Agbali on February 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
The late Guyanese writer, Walter Rodney had left us his great insights regarding the reasons for the underdevelopment of the African continent. His work finds equal footing with those of Frantz Fanon and to an extent that of the late Brazilian author and social activist, Paulo Freire in attempting to provide a critical insight, and a gainful analysis to the situation and reasons for the poverty on the African continent. This analysis, whether one agrees with its conclusions or not provides a means towards looking at the stalk realities of African underdevelopment. Rodney thesis that the trans-atlantic slave trade diminished the African manpower to attain development cannot be easily pushed under the carpet. Development is how a people within the means available to them, within their eco-context utilize their knowledge for the good of the totality.When their people is afflicted with disease or mass uprooting there is bound to be both a biological and social ripple effects that would affect both the pace and nature of development. It is here that we realize that Rodney's proposition underlines a crucial factor in explaining the reasons for the African state. The comparative examples used from various societies within Africa and beyond to support forcefully and assertively his thereotical claim shows a well researched critical mind at work. The book relates that the reality of underdevelopment can only be tied to two events, namely European colonialism and the capitalist orgy for profit, through the use of cheap labor (slavery) and through capitalist exploitation of the labor through the marketing and importation of African cash crop resources to Europe and the New World.Read more ›
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61 of 72 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on December 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
In _How Europe Underdeveloped Africa_, Walter Rodney convincingly argues that much of the "Third World" is a product of European Imperialism in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Several points are made in his agrument. Among them are the arbitrary borders established by the colonial powers for their convience, with utter disregard for the indigenous people, their histories or past animosities. (The result? Violence in places like Rwanda, for example.) Rodney also points out that with the European conquest of Africa, the vast natural resources of the continent were - and still are being - plundered, from West African oil, to South African diamonds, to mineals like bauxite and copper on the interior. With this in mind, the infrasructures the European created (roads, ports, cities, transportation and power grids) were designed exclusively for the removal of these resources in as quick and efficient manner as possible.
For me the most significant agrument Rodney made, however, was the political legacy of European colonialism - that Africans, after nearly 100 years of economic exploitation and political repression (they had no say in the political dealings of their homeland, mind you), the Europeans up and left with little preparation or training for the maitainance of the economic and political infrastructure. No wonder there is so much political unrest, economic uncertainty, wide spread poverty and disease.
I give it 4 stars because of the strength and obvilious passion Rodney had for his subject matter, and for making an excellent argument. I cannot give it 5, however, because the book is not without its flaws. For example, the Africans are not held accountable for THEIR role in the continuing underdevelopment of the continent - Africa remains tremendously rich in resources; only now are the Africans beginning to manage and control the export of these to their advantage. Still, a highly recommended book.
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