Part travel memoir, part history book, and part political analysis, this richly written look at contemporary Africa should be required reading for every future politician. French, who has travel extensively in Africa and who obviously loves it deeply, not only describes the current problems many African nations face, but takes us beyond those problems back to the history that led up to them ? a history soaked in centuries of Western manipulation, greed, and onvenience. The result has been a never ending spiral of ever-deepening crisis, not just political, but also economic, agricultural, and social. African nations with their own functional and growing governments and cultures were stomped to pieces by Western nations with an eye on more colonization. And when the West got tired of having to deal with them, it just “liberated” them, dumped them, and, in many places, left them in a state of absolute chaos from which they are still struggling to emerge.
This is an informed, deeply sympathetic portrayal of Africa, a continent that is endlessly fascinating and incredibly compelling. I go through periodic phases these days during which I lose all hope for Africa ? it just seems so mpossibly clouded with the thick smog of several lifetimes’ worth of lost chances. But French ? French has hope. And so do the people he tells us about. And that’s pretty darn refreshing, not to mention inspiring. Now all we need to do is make this book required reading for the rest of the world ? and then to get off our butts and start actually listening to what Africa is trying to tell us.
Complete review available here.