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on November 26, 2004
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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on February 25, 2000
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. Critically, there are areas of Rodney's thesis that could be radically challenged but given his own family and personal orientation towards the Marxist worldview and workers movement, one cannot deny him of his place in history as a critical scholar, simply because his reasoning might differ from our own.We must also realize that since 1972 when the book was first published a lot has changed globally. Yet we cannot negate the fact that the reactionary agents of colonial extension have reduced Africa to the state which would please their bourgeois self-interests and those of their Western mentors and patrons. There are still strifes and crises that only goes to reproduce the situation Rodney described within a circumvented form. In this way Rodney's legacy is eternal. What else can one say of a man who remained faithful to the ideal of freedom for the poor- mainly those of African descents both at home and in the diaspora- denigrated by colonial and neo-colonial establishments. For this he dearly paid for it with his life, following his bombardment by the government's reactionary forces of Guyana. It is his life testimony to the freedom of all oppressed people that gives a validity to his writings. His legacy remains with us to this day as one of the classic text explaining the causal relationship between of what happens in abstraction to what does happen in fact. A number of times we can be wrong but the insight is never lost.But that we are right and Rodney is wrong is not even the matter. We can only take a stand when we pick the book the shelf and knows exactly what he was talking about. It is a book for all, just pick one today and peruse it critically.Rodney lives eternally in this books as his other books, and in this way his spirit haunts the violent forces that create poverty and fear in the minds of the public without succeeding to halt the peoples' struggles. Aluta continua, Bon voyage!
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VINE VOICEon December 25, 2003
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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on September 6, 1999
There just is not any other book that will tell you what Rodney does in this one. No European historian is willing to admit to all the outrages Europe has inflicted upon Africa over the past 500 years. No capitalist historian either. So here is Walter Rodney, a Guianese Marxist to tell this agonizing history while holding nothing back. He really makes you feel it, this is a very intense book, you don't want to read it before bedtime or you will not get to sleep. I think you need to buy it, because you can not read it fast straight through, not if you care about Africa and Africans, and if colonial exploitation and slavery get you mad. You're going to be gnashing your teeth with rage all the way through this infuriating recitation of rape, pillage, robbery, slavery and every kind of imaginable injustice. In the end you might want to say oh that Rodney what do you expect from a Marxist. OK try it. But now you have to tell us what he said that's not true. And you can't. It really was and is that bad. And everyone who is a part of European/ Western civilization needs to know it.
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on November 21, 2003
By the way, I am a white Irish-American reader and a voter who casts my ballots as neither conservative nor liberal but as an independent. To think that a reasoned critique of the problems of racist economic hierarchies would be disallowed by white so called patriotic reviewers below is an extreme form of covert racism. The knee-jerk dismissals of Dr. Rodney's excellent exegesis by the reviewers below is precisely the kind of conceptual horror that Dr. Rodney's book so cogently examines--and with much logical presentation of arguments and evidence. Far from "blaming whitey" as the simpleton reviewer noted below (and I do mean below), Dr. Rodney shows the systemic imperialism of profit-making European interventions on the continent of Africa. As his book was written prior to the African dictatorships that the reviewer cites below, Dr. Rodney can surely not be blamed for those dictatorships. (Logic: Hello! ...and you blame Dr. Rodney for supposed poor argumentation!) But the real problem is these reviewers insist on ignoring colonialism's European interventions and responsibilities. They are so quick to bring up everything else and not to discuss at length the glaring European responsibility that the transatlantic slave trade and the "owning" of African nations before their independence had on the socioeconomic underdevelopment of the African continent as Dr. Rodney brilliantly makes clear. Some people will NEVER take stock of their own racism--be it overt or covert. In a nation founded by white racist slave-holders, these reviewers need to look carefully at HISTORY.
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on July 13, 2012
If one wants to know why many African countries are the way the are "undeveloped" then this book is a good start. The author Walter Rodney really gets specific about several aspects of how European countries undeveloped Africa. For example, Mr. Rodney explains the slave trade and how European countries imported cheap goods in Africa to drive out the Africa market. Also, Mr. Rodney explains how the foundation of economies began in Africa, and how it can be put in perspective before the colonial rule of the Europeans. This books has good information and it is a must buy.
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on May 11, 2003
This book shows how European colonialism stunted the development of Africa. I especially liked how the author exploded myths about "great humanitarians" such as Albert Schweitster. This book should be read by anyone interested in the history of Africa.
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on April 27, 2006
This Book has been around for more than 25 years. It is destined to be a classic because it is so well written and researched. Dr. Rodney outlines and explains the conception and implementation by European governments of a system through which the continent of Africa would be exploited for her natural resources while her growth would be stultified. The book outlines the reasons why Europeans first went to the African continent, and the strategies they employed to entrench their positions, and to ensure that the "Dark Continent" was kept dark. "If you know your history, then you will know where you're coming from." This book certainly broadens one's understanding of our history.
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on March 1, 2006
"How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" is among the most insightful analysis of the reasons behind the underdevelopment of the African continent. The book, published in 1972, was written in a Marxist context. The author demonstrates exceptional analytical depth and critical research into how European colonialism and capitalism were a double edged sword in creating deep rooted underdevelopment of the continent which has been very difficult to uproot.

Since the book was published, a lot has happened in the world which would appear to expose some flaws in the book, particularly his views that socialism or Marxism are the correct vehicle for the development of the African continent. However, the Marxist philosophy is now almost completely discredited. The few states worldwide that still practice unadulterated Marxism are impoverished pariah States tottering on the brink of collapse weighed down by the irrelevance of the Marxist dogma (they are indeed slaves of a dead philosopher). However, this hardly diminishes the legacy and impact of this great and famous writer in his exceptional exposure of how Europe underdeveloped Africa. His basic message of the need for the generality of the African peoples to enjoy the vast resources of the continent is still a cherished dream.

The profound underdevelopment of the continent highlighted by Rodney is still with us today, although the blame for this should now be shifted to African leaders. In fact, the legacy of colonialism has been the rise of some political leaders who mimic the colonial masters in their ruthless exploitation and subjugation of their people and their grotesque excesses. The various territorial conflicts on the continent are largely the result of the creation of the artificial borders during the partition of Africa, with no regard to the cultural affinities of the indigenous populations. The brain drain that started with slavery 400-500 years ago continues unabated to this day, with most of Africa's brains working outside the continent.

Because of his principled stand for the downtrodden Africans in Africa and the diaspora, Walter Rodney was assassinated in 1980 in his native country Guyana. However, his legacy and thinking will never die. The book is a must read for people who seek a just and equitable world order and those who wish to understand the history of Africa.
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on January 6, 2003
This is a well documented and logically presented African version, if you may, of the impact of slavery and colonialism on Africans at large. It is a must read for all Africans eager to know the history of the various empires, kingdoms and clans in that continent before contact with the Europeans.
As a leftist, Rodney often takes swipes at the capitalist system and given that he died in 1980 the rapid changes in the east west divide is lost on him. This in no way dilutes the core message, substantiated to a great degree, in the book. The evidence, and the logical manner of presentation, to show that Africa ended up in a lose/lose situation is quite compelling.
He did, in his astounding intellectual style, adduce evidence to seriously challenge some stereotypes about Africans prior to the arrival of the Europeans. From the book it is clear that Africans were engaged in a limited form of international trade with the Arabs; it is shown that there were forms of democratic practices commensurate with the level of development of the societies; it is revealed that African Kings and Chiefs are not the bloodhounds they are portrayed to be in the predominant accounts written by non-Africans.
Reading in between the lines in the book, it can be safely averred that the recurrent instability and wars ravaging the continent of Africa are after shocks of the blatant partition of Africa without giving any consideration to the cultural antecedents of the peoples being welded together. Events in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the iron curtain are pointers to the fact that fusing incompatibles is a recipe for chaos. This should be contrasted from individuals volunteering to form a new union.
Interestingly, Rodney also reveals that the question of reparation should not be treated like a pipedream. This is by way of evidence pointing to some big corporations of this age owing their foundation to profits from the abominable and shameful epoch called the slave trade.
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