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A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa Paperback – April 12, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Included here are quick examinations of the relentless political corruption in the potentially successful Nigeria, which has a strong population and political culture but also the corrupting influence of Western corporate profiteering; and the sorry subversion of democratic progress by violent local warlords in sleepy Congo-Brazzaville. French writes many pages on the catastrophic civil war in Liberia, fueled by drug-addicted teenage soldiers and genocidal competing dictators. In the process French devastatingly debunks the rebel leader Charles Taylor, who has become a supposed American poster boy for democratic reform.
The greatest part of the book is based on French's knowledge of events in Congo (formerly Zaire), including stirring eyewitness accounts of the 1997 insurrection that toppled the despicable lifetime dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, who had also been an American favorite.Read more ›
French feels privileged for his position given his personal background and family connections in and to the region. As West Africa representative for the New York Times between 1994 and 1998, he traveled extensively in the region. The book records one major political crisis after another: most of those happened to occur in Zaire in the last years of Mobutu's reign.
French complements his current affairs coverage with reflections on the impacts of colonial history and political power play during the Cold War.Read more ›
More importantly, French is not shy about pointing out the role played (and still being played) by many western powers and multinational corporations in fostering the instability and and conflict that has plagued Africa.
The one criticism I have is that the book deals so much with the Congo crisis and with conflicts in Africa in general, but does not adequately address key positive developments that also took place. Perhaps, Mr. French will address those in a second volume.
All in all, Mr. French deserves commendation for writing such an honest and deeply incisive book.
It was so much more than I anticipated it would be with regards to the information and depth of content provided. Although Mr.French speaks from his experience, it still has a feel of a well-rounded objective read. He provides answers and reasons about questions many of us ask about Africa - a continent whose countries are often ignore in the news/media and in elementary and secondary education. I know I will reference this book in the future, especially in school when writing future papers. I'm grateful it was brought to my attention and I've already referred it to others. This is a mind/perspective expanding work on a continent that deserves the attention.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic book. Through personal anecdotes linked to historical fact, French elegantly summarizes the political/economic/human condition in Africa.Published 10 months ago by Kent Kroeker
Excellent documentation, and reads like a novel. The first-person style really puts you on the scene. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Serval
Few people in the West understand the impact of colonization on indigenous people. World powers drew lines between neighbors, and brought their conflicts to the continent to play... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Roger
There is some good writing in here, but the title is quite misleading. Would be better to say Some adventures I had in some African Countries.Published 20 months ago by R.L.D.
Howard Frence done a great job of informing us on the history and challenges of the governmnts and people of Africa. Would recommend it to all who care to be educated.Published on August 14, 2013 by paul daniels
I learned from this book and the perspective of the author French.
French tells about the corruption and the venal policies of the West and the ruling elites in the... Read more
The book was great. A bit confusing at the end with so many names, and tribes and countries (new names and old).Published on June 10, 2013 by mario