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Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa Paperback – July 1, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
Take away the politically incorrect premise, that an African-American journalist was horrified by what he saw in Sub-Sahara Africa and is grateful to be an American, a premise which is merely in the controversial 5 1/2 page Prelude, and what you have in the remaining 259 pages is one of the most intriguing, exciting, and even breathtaking adventure stories told in modern times. This stuff makes war reporting from WWI and WWII seem like nursery rhymes. If Hemingway and Churchill wanted to see and write about battles up close, they needed to go where Richburg's been. The Spanish Civil War and Boer War were tame by comparison.
Want to know what it was like in Mogadishu during the American and United Nations occupation of Somalia? It's here.
Why were the corpses of American soldiers dragged through the streets? He'll tell you.
Want to know what it was like to stand on a bridge at Rusomo Falls and watch countless Tutsi bodies drift by after being massacred in Rwanda? It's here.
What's it like to be a Belgian soldier who is told to put down his weapons to avoid a Hutu riot in Rwanda, and then to die for following that order?
Want to know what its like to be in the middle of a cholera epidemic in Zaire? It's here too.
Are you interested in the "Whys"?
For instance, why do the Hutus hate the Tutsis? How does it relate to the black experience in America? It's discussed here in frank and clear terms.
If you've ever wanted to be a foreign correspondent, or a CIA case worker, or to travel to "hot spots" around the world this is the book to read.Read more ›
While Mr. Richburgh makes clear towards the beginning of the book that he never felt his 'blackness' was his defining characteristic, his journey in the book sours him on Africa and wipes many preconceptions out of the window. Before anyone can help Africa, he concludes, Africans need to help Africa. The descriptions of tribalism, dictatorship, factionization, and senseless murder seemingly as a way of life, are disturbing and graphic. Richburgh pulls no puches. The irony is that in the process of reading a book where the author ultimately concludes that Africa may be less 'salvagable' than we thought, it is obvious that he is not callous about this judgment, that he remains all-the-while sympathetic, and that this conclusion is one of the hardest ones the author has ever had to make (he tells us THAT much).
Many who've read Out of America denounce Richburg as an out-and-out "uncle Tom". He is a black man who realizes that he is an "american" before he's an "african-american" (as if I'm 'european-american' instead of just plain 'white'). The irony is that those who are shocked that Richburg, a black man, would DARE criticize Africa seems to prove RIchburgs ancillary point. Black leaders, intellectuals, and arm-chair diplomats have pussyfooted around Africa, ignoring abuses of 'human rights', ignoring the deadly tribalism and murder, so as to keep the image of "Africa - the glorious motherland" alive.Read more ›
Mr. Richburg's book has brought wails of protest from all over, in Africa certainly but from many other countries and nations as well and not the least America.
Mr. Richburg is a reporter; his book is a report of what he saw while on assignment in Africa. What he saw was appalling, the author does not sugar coat it and it rings with an awful truth. The truth is that today in Africa, black Africans are slaughtering other black Africans at a rate that is incalculable. An ongoing slaughter that is largely unreported in the mainstream media. What makes the book so controversial is Mr. Richburg's refusal to blame the past for Africa's murderous appetites of today. What makes the book so controversial is Mr. Richburg's courage in laying bloody Africa at the feet of today's African leaders. He makes no excuses for black leaders that treat their people like charnel.
It is this "no excuses" approach that infuriates Mr. Richburg's detractors. It is much easier to blame King Leopold, slavery, the colonialism of the British, or the Belgians than it is to look at the simple truth. What happened yesterday does not give license for the atrocities of today.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a necessary read to anyone hoping to become educated. If your desire is to understand the world, the news, or whether or not your worldview holds water in any place... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Douglas Gregory
No sugar coating, a genuine, apolitical report from the African front lines. Unfortunately, with Zimbabwe and S Africa unraveling, his insights are just as cogent today.Published 4 months ago by Leslie Cook
This is a very thoughtful book. It exposed many things that I did not know about how things actually worked in Africa during this period and probably today.Published 5 months ago by Rosalind Wilkins Haith
I live in Africa (South Africa) and I thought it was so factual.Totally scary!Published 8 months ago by Brenda Hull
This is the memoir of an American journalist who, in the course of spending a few years reporting on Africa, came to see himself as an American rather than an... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Will Wilkin
It arrived on time, looking absolutely new! This is a remarkable story that should be read by everyone in America, especially those who don't understand what an unmitigated... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Alan J. Dooley
Couldn't put it down--finally someone to tell the truth about Africa. It gives the foundation that explains the calamity on that continent in the news lately.Published 11 months ago by Lois