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THE MIND OF THE AFRICAN STRONGMAN: Conversations with Dictators, Statesmen, and Father Figures Paperback – May 5, 2015
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"[Cohen] has written a fascinating and clear-eyed book...a great read - I did so in a single sitting because I could not put it down. Africa watchers will delight in Cohen's subtle pen portraits of Africa's big men. Through him, the reader feels he or she actually participates in conversations with personalities as variable as Congo's Mobutu or Nigeria's Babangida."
- John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, and former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria
"For half a century, Hank Cohen has probed Africa's most intimate secrets as a diplomat and foreign policy analyst. From the Congo to the Comoros, he has seen it all. Now, with an incisive book rich in insight and vivid color, he emerges as a master storyteller. To understand African leadership, past and present, you need this book."
- Mort Rosenblum, author of Squandering Eden: Africa at the Edge, and former editor of the International Herald Tribune
"There are few who match Hank Cohen in terms of the length and breadth of his experience in and engagement with Africa, both within government and, subsequently, in the private sector. Even those who find themselves at disagreement with one or another of the author's conclusions will nevertheless find the stories of his dealings with some of the most famous (and infamous) African leaders of the period fascinating and the insights of these historical figures which he recounts an invaluable resource."
- J. Peter Pham, Director, Atlantic Council Africa Center
"Cohen's cogently argued analysis of Africa's first generation of post-colonial leaders will provide both experienced Africa hands and new readers useful insights into the major transitions underway in Africa and the continually evolving US role there."
- John Hirsch, Senior Advisor, International Peace Institute, and former U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone
"That individuals often do make a difference is the thesis of The Mind of the African Strongman. Based upon his unrivaled experience as an American diplomat in Africa, Hank Cohen's collection of conversations with Africa's Big Men is invaluable to anyone interested in that continent and its tumultuous modern history."
- Edward Marks, Minister-Counselor (ret.), U.S. Foreign Service
About the Author
As an ambassador, advisor to Presidents, and a 38-year veteran of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Herman J. Cohen has devoted his entire professional career to African and European affairs.
Over the years, Cohen grew to know every first-generation African leader - from Mandela, to Mobutu, to Moammar Gaddafi.
During his tenure as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the first Bush Administration, and through his role at the NSC in the Reagan White House, Cohen worked to bring about peaceful transitions of power in South Africa and Namibia, and helped to end civil wars in Angola, Ethiopia, and Mozambique.
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Richard Matheron, retired US Ambassador