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Customer Review

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Day in the Life Has Many Missing Pages, December 28, 2002
This review is from: A Day in the Life of Africa (Hardcover)
This book is a very nice compliation of photographs but it unfortunately feeds the more stereotypical view of a primitive and backwards Africa. From reading this book, one would be totally unaware of the development present in major cities like Abidjan, Accra, Nairobi and Dakar. One would never expect to see skyscrapers, traffic jams (with real cars), nice homes, factories and schools. One would still be unaware of the cathedral at Yamasoukro, Ivory Coast which is the largest in the world and clearly one of the most beautiful.
While this book is a step up from images of the animals of the East African plains it sorely lacks in the "complete picture" department. It is as if a "Day in the Life of America" was depicted as downtown New York, Los Angeles and Chicago but neglected to show ANY pictures of the farms of Iowa, the ranches of Montana or national parks like Yellowstone.
Because images of Africans seen by many Americans are limited to those already contained in this book, I think the editors missed a major opportunity to increase the knowledge base of their readers. We need to fight ignorance. Most Americans will never travel to Africa. How else will they ever advance from their mental images being limited to animals, native dancers, Tarzan, poverty and starvation?
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 11, 2008 5:23:37 AM PDT
appearantly...that was the point...

Posted on Apr 8, 2010 9:20:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2010 9:24:10 AM PDT
ChicagoLarry says:
Invariably, some people, such as reviewer "lenhubbard," seem to think every book about Africa has to be all things to all people, and cover every aspect of the vast continent and its many countries. Would they expect the same of every book about any other continent? You can always bet that those who find such fault with books on Africa will always complain about too little depiction of modernity and too much of poverty, animals or tribal people. They would never complain that a book about Africa's skyscrapers didn't include poor rural areas or the Omo Valley and it's tribal people who still wear animal skins or nothing at all. THOSE "missing pages" would be fine with them! (I suspect there's a bit of shame about one's heritage at play somewhere in there.) Nor do I think this same reviewer would complain that a book about America's cowboys or the Old West didn't show New York skyscrapers.

As for this particular book, it's about people, not skyscrapers, nor even cities. Its purpose is to depict what PEOPLE are doing during the course of a day across Africa. To be meticulously representative, it probably should have shown more of the poverty, not more of the modernity. I think the vast majority of people bright enough to read books know they can't get all their information about anything in a single book. Let this book be what it purports to be-most of us agree that it does it well.
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