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The Betrayal of Africa (Groundwork Guides) by [Caplan, Gerald]
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The Betrayal of Africa (Groundwork Guides) Kindle Edition

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 144 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As with other Groundwork Guides, this title offers a concise, exploratory look into a high-interest, controversial, and multifaceted topic. Here, Caplan presents a quick summary of how the legacy of many Western policies—the multipronged attack of slavery, colonialism, state-making, and resource-plundering—along with disastrous internal corruption and tyranny have relegated most of sub-Saharan Africa to its seemingly perpetual state of underdevelopment, famine, and genocide. Don’t mistake brevity for simplicity, though. Caplan isn’t afraid to delve into complexities, get personal and opinionated, and assign blame: the fact is that we in the West are deeply complicit in every crisis bedeviling Africa . . . and betraying its people. His writing is well sourced and largely effective, communicating a wealth of information about Africa’s severe problems and providing an occasional beacon of hope. This is ideal for classroom use, as a discussion-starter, or simply an eye-opening introduction to some of the world’s greatest mass tragedies. It makes clear just how sad it is that betrayal is likely the nicest word that could have been used in the title. Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman


". . .this title offers a concise, exploratory look. . . Caplan isn't afraid to delve into complexities, get personal and opinionated, and assign blame. . . His writing is well sourced and largely effective. . . This is ideal for classroom use. . ." -- Booklist

"The Betrayal of Africa presents a concise but comprehensive overview of its subject. . . Gerald Caplan is passionate about his subject and is highly convincing in advancing his argument. . . an excellent supplemental resource. Clearly drawn line maps, charts of statistical content, timelines of dates and events, and short reports on such topics as AIDS in Africa and the Rwandan Genocide all add to the book's value and provide readily-accessible content to student readers. Yet another valuable addition to the 'Groundwood Guides' series. Highly recommended." -- CM Magazine

"A must read for students, scholars, educators and anyone else who cares about the human family, our interconnectedness and our interdependence. Gerry Caplan cuts through the myths, stereotypes, and platitudes to give both a thoughtful and thought provoking look at Africa, its history, its many peoples, and its role--often as pawn--in world politics. His book details the interference, the indifference, and the utter contempt--often under the guise of 'doing good'--that has defined how the world continues to betray Africa." -- Barbara Coloroso, educator and author, Extraordinary Evil, A Brief History of Genocide...and Why It Matters

Product Details

  • File Size: 726 KB
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (August 16, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 16, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005PYJX54
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,331,727 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Friederike Knabe VINE VOICE on June 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Another book about "Africa" you may ask, and one of only 128 small pages? What can anybody say on such confined space about the continent of 53 states and at least 2000 languages and a multitude of cultures? Caplan, with more than 40 years of active involvement with Africa and a "passionate commitment" to the continent's development, will surprise you in all regards. His analysis, presented in clear and succinct language in well structured chapters, is informative, erudite without getting caught in details. In all regards this is a very worthwhile read and a useful book to have on the shelf for further reference.

The "Betrayal of Africa" is published as a Groundwork Guide, a series intended to "provide an overview of key contemporary political and social issues... these books tackle pressing and sometimes controversial topics, offering both a lively introduction to the subject and a strong point of view." Caplan expertly lives up to the series' intentions. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the continent's concerns, he presents a well reasoned analysis of the continuing challenges for the peoples of Africa.

Discussing the "common predicament[s]" of this most diverse of continents, the author briefly outlines the historical context, characterized by colonialism and its lingering aftermath, its vulnerability to severe climatic variabilities, wide-spread poverty, and, last but not least, the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Hand in hand with the exploitation of European masters went corruption and exploitation by local political and economic strongmen.

The newly independent states were left without adequate infrastructures, professional sectors or functioning education systems.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is short and the bulk of it is the author's opinions and there are not many facts (outside of some statistics) and maybe not even one detailed historical account. Reading the back cover, it states, "There is a widespread assumption that Africa is the problem and that we in the rich world are the solution." Unfortunately, this seems to be the view of the author as little is mentioned of the African's ability to self-govern as has been done for countless millenia before colonial interference. Instead, the book imposes the status quo view of the modern world that foreign aid for modernization and development would benefit the continent if it weren't for the corruption of the African leaders who are really henchmen of European and US governments. This view ignores 2 major facts. 1. The aid would not be possible if not for the plundering of African resources over the last 500 years at least. 2. The only purpose of European, American and Chinese investment and aid is to continue this legacy of plundering.
I could have gotten past the narrowmindedness of the author if he had had at least presented more objective historical information.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book that does an excellent job at explaining why countries in Africa face the challenges that they do. The cover is really reflective of the books overall argument, i.e that both the West and Africans (particularly the "big men" - often dictators) are responsible. The book nicely examines the historical exploitation of Africa and highlights some of the present-day exploitation that is still ongoing. This is an excellent book to use as an introduction to African studies/history/politics as it gives a very good background, while also challenging some misconceptions about the continent. I'm an African history professor and this is a book I assign to my students at the beginning of my African history class. It's easy reading, clear, concise and enjoyable too. Highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know anything about Africa.
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Format: Paperback
I ve just finished reading this book and I am really dissapointed. The author seems to appreciate only one side of the story and is soo negative in his assesmnet that it phisicaly hurts!!!

Caplan also contradicts himself every second page. West is guilty of giving credis. West is guilty of not giving enough credits. West is guilty of interveening. West is guilty of not interveening. Chinese presence is great. Chinese presence is terrible. NGO's are great for Africa. NGO's are terrible. And so on...

Also as an academic he should stick to facts instead of feeding readers with his: "no data but surely", "hard to say but certinly" and so on.

After reading this book you can seriously loose all hope for Africa. If you beleive that solution is not FDI, international help, and liberalism then what is???
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