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The Fate of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence Paperback – September 6, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1610390712 ISBN-10: 1610390717 Edition: Rev Upd

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The Fate of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence + Africa: A Biography of the Continent + King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; Rev Upd edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610390717
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610390712
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer, and historian who has written extensively on Africa. His books include Mandela: A Biography; Mugabe; Diamonds, Gold and War; and, most recently, Born in Africa. He lives near Oxford, England.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 36 customer reviews
Excellent book and very readable.
CA
Some great things in this excellent book: 1- In its about 710 pages, this book meticulously charts the history of Africa since its independence, in 1950 decade.
Dalton C. Rocha
If you can read only one book about Africa, let it be this one.
John B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By George Mason on April 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
If you are working in or simply fascinated by Africa this is a great start point and I would definitiely recommend this book for your library. I constantly go back to this book to refresh myself on regional and country specific GENERAL issues and history. As an overview of quite possibly one of the most complex socio-political environments in the world, the author does an incredible job. What is often missing is the outside influence on the story and/or the deeper regional dynamics. The author could have focused a little bit more on some of the developmental disasters caused by the very organizations that set out to fix the internal problems prevalent in the continent. This economic experimentation as well as the external security regime are two topics that would have resonated throughout the book. Still, I would not give up my copy and, recognizing that no one can do justice to an entire continent in one book, this is a must have for your Africa shelf.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Baker on January 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book provides an outstanding survey of the brutal dictators and frequent wars that have plagued Africa since independence. I have nothing to add to the already comprehensive reviews here except to note three possible negatives of the book. Despite these, I still give the book 4 1/2 stars, as my points are mainly about scope, not execution.

1) This is a history in the "old-school" sense. Like earlier histories of Europe that included only the deeds of kings, heroes, and warriors, there is no attempt to convey anything about the daily experience of the ordinary people of Africa. It is a history of the movers and the shakers. In the past several decades, historians have redefined their field to include the actions and experiences of those who are not in the seats of power. If you're looking for this newer kind of history, then this is not the book on Africa for you.

2) Excellent coverage is provided through each decade of the twentieth century, but coverage of the last ten years seemed a little thin in comparison.

3) And finally, after 700 pages of corrupt dictators, I was hoping for at least a little analysis. Why has all this happened over the last 50 years? Why do these corrupt men keep gaining power, and why does the violence persist? I understand that Meredith's intended purpose is merely to report and not to become political, but by the very act of selecting certain aspects of Africa's history and excluding others, he makes a statement. I was hoping, then, for some more explicit exploration of the causes of this long nightmare.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Maitland on November 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
...as this is one hefty book and looooong. Having said that, it is pretty clear and concise writing. The problem is you read about one thug ruler after another and they all start to blur into one. This is more a coffee drinking (not table) book to digest over many cups. I basically read this in spurts to absorb what each chapter had to say and to differentiate my AS Toures from my Omar Bongos.

All I can say is the fate of Africa could not be in worse hands post-colonialism. Depressing read and makes you wonder, what the what planet are these rulers on.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Edmund on May 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As an international business consultant I wanted to learn more about the African continent. Meredith's work provided a excellent scholastic view into how historical events have shaped the political, economic, and cultural demographics found today in Africa and particularly the Sub-Saharan region.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anne Mills on January 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Martin Meredith's history of Africa since independence provides a critical service to the general reader -- telling clearly and comprehensively what has happened in Africa since 1960. In so doing, he covers an vast amount of material. There are at present over 50 African states, and they vary enormously, in terms of culture, resources, history, and on and on. Meredith discusses all of the major and most of the minor countries individually, moving forward through time in what is a triumph of organization. If I want in future to review the recent history of one or another African country -- or of some cross-border phenomena -- I shall know where to turn.

It is probably too much to expect an explanation at the end of this chronicle. Mr. Meredith's history presents a harrowing account of war after war, dictator after dictator, famine after famine, and mass murder after mass murder. They differ from country to country, of course, but the pattern of kleptocracy combined with monomania emerges again and again. At the end, one has to wonder why, and Mr. Meredith does not really present many answers. It may not be possible to do so, but I wish he had tried.

Upon finishing this book, I went back to Amazon to see if there is another on the same topic -- is Africa's history since independence really so totally hopeless? I didn't find anything of anything like Mr. Meredith's level of seriousness that presented a less pessimistic view, at least not based on writeups and reviews. For now, I remain stunned, and curious.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dalton C. Rocha on June 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here in Brazil, I read this excellent book.
Some great things in this excellent book:
1- In its about 710 pages, this book meticulously charts the history of Africa since its independence, in 1950 decade. Dealing with almost every single country, it shows the Africa's dismal failure. Some passages shows African democracy in the few places where it happened, got good results, see Botswana and Mauritius.
2- This book shows how much Africa has been cursed with corrupt and incompetent tyrants who never cared nothing, for the well being of their people. This rogue's gallery of African despots includes Idi Amin, Bokassa, Mobutu, Julius Nyerere, Banda, Mugabe, Kaunda, Kenyatta, Mengistu, Nasser, Nguema and Nkrumah. While Asia and even Latin America, in the sole case of Chile, got "good despots", African had ever terrible, incompetents, corrupts tyrants and even, in some cases (Idi Amin and Bokassa), mad cannibals.
3- This book is unbiased, concise and Well-written, and it will remain the standard book on the modern history of Africa for at least, a decade ahead.
In just a few sentences: If you weant to read about the African history since 1950 decade, this is the book that you must buy and read. This book is excellent, unbiased and concise. Yes, a book with more than 710 pages can be concise. African history is very terrible and also very fun. I found just a problem with this book is that it misses small African island nations, such as Cape Verde and Mauritius. Even so, this problem is small and being this book, the best in the world, about its subject, I have to give five stars for it.
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