The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World
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The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  306 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Here, from a brilliant young writer, is a paradigm-shifting history of both a utopian concept and global movement the idea of the Third World. The Darker Nations traces the intellectual origins and the political history of the twentieth century attempt to knit together the world's impoverished countries in opposition to the United States and Soviet spheres of influence in...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by New Press, The (first published February 19th 2007)
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Scott
Prashad’s book is important, though I wouldn’t call it a “people’s history” as it focuses largely on the actions of the leaders of the U.S., U.S.S.R., and “Third World.” He does a good job of accessibly covering the general themes that played out during decolonization, independence and neoliberalism, as well as conceptualizing the Third World as an intentional project. But no book can really get at the dynamics at play over the course of 80 years and three continents. And of course, as anyone in...more
Judy
I will use this as a text again as my students find it the most illuminating book of unknown world history they have ever read. It is the book I have been waiting for as a professor who always hoped to find a political history of the "Third World" from the points of view of some thoughtful people who live there. Read the other reviews on goodreads. They all have the same praise. Fabulous.
Rick Goff
This fast-paced, erudite argument regarding the creation, rise and demise of the Third World was a very challenging read for me, as a result of my ignorance of geopolitical history and economic history. The Third World arose as a term to describe the remainder of the world (about 2/3 of its population) that was not covered under the labels First World (NATO) and Second World (Warsaw Pact) as they were defined in a speech by - who else - Winston Churchill.

Each chapter of Prashad's book is entitle...more
Signe
I'm not really sure what audience Prashad had in mind. As a novice to many of the histories, I was very confused. It doesn't really work as a textbook. The author offers so many case studies with little-to-no background I imagine even scholars would have trouble reading this without a reference guide.
msondo
Not quite as engaging as I hoped it would be but it provides tons of great info on the development of the "third world." It paints a very different picture of the non-first world than what we are probably used to seeing on television screens and newspaper articles.
Leonel Caraciki
Um livro complicado de analisar. Por um lado nota-se a capacidade de pesquisa do autor, que consegue escrever um livro recheado de eventos e personagens com uso cuidadoso de fontes e de literatura de apoio. Por outro lado, Prashad que é um militante marxista ortodoxo faz tanta questão de jogar na cara do leitor suas preferências ideológicas que o livro se torna quase que um panfleto. Logo no início, o autor levanta a tese de que o Terceiro Mundo deu errado pois os projetos dos partidos comunista...more
Malcolm
The title unsettled me a bit – but this had received good reviews and the series it is in (The New Press's People's History series edited by Howard Zinn) is really quite good. I am so pleased I read this: it is a cogent, politically charged and engaged analysis of the 'Third World' as a political project. Prashad sees the Third World as a potentially a powerful challenge to but also product of the two worlds of the Cold War, and a movement and concept with enormous promise. He argues that the co...more
James
"The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World"

By Vijay Prashad

Review by James Generic



The Third World is a Cold War term, meaning mostly former nations that were ruled by Europeans and won their political independence in the decades after the second world war. That's how most people understand it anyway. It started off as a term of empowerment and hope by the leaders of the newly independent countries in the 1950s, after years of trying to bind the colonized into a single cause. Thes...more
Greg
I couldn't decide between 3 or 4 stars.

Before I read this book, I was expecting to hear a new perspective on third world battleground between the U.S and U.S.S.R, but even though the focus is different the author accomplished a lot more than I expected.

The subject of the book is what Prashad calls the Third World Movement, or Non-Aligned Movement, that really began to take shape after World War II through the efforts of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Kwame Nkrumah, Jawaharlal Nehru, Ahmed Sukarno, etc. Pra...more
Sidne
Not really a peoples history...more of a history of those in power/ those who had the ability to make any sort of difference (good or bad). People aren't mentioned (as in the masses) which seems to marginalize them more.
Interesting concept of the Third world as a project rather than a place, explains why these places are still behind today.
Explains how capitalism was able to grow (ie. how the US came to dominate everyone/everything). Of course it's impossible for these countries to become mini-A...more
Claire
This book was informative and thought-provoking, but fitting the histories of sixty countries on three different continents into a single 300-page book was kind of an impossible proposition. I felt like too many details were skated over, and while I appreciated the way the author tried to follow specific thematic threads across countries in each chapter, the timeline jumped around a LOT. At the very least, this book needed a glossary of the many acronyms and leaders involved, and some visual aid...more
Sean
such a wealth of information, much of which i've been literally craving to find in one concise spot for quite a while, but so awfully awfully written and awkwardly paced. then there's the fundamental concern for this (is it too early to call this a "style" unto itself? is it more than revisionism? hyper-revisionism?) "peoples history" business, ie if you plainly state your intentions and subjectivity as a historian and author, does that validate the blatant framing of historical incidents and ch...more
Katherine
This is an amazing book that tracks the history of the Third World Movement and its foundation of the Nonaligned Movement and how the efforts existed and the story of how it failed.

It's such a great read and it would be a great text book for International Relations degrees to get a much more Global South perspective than what you get in the mainstream academia.

Anyone in the field should read this book at some point!
Doug
I was skeptical when I first started the book -- Prashad seemed to idealize the nationalism of independence movements and to discount the impact of economic issues in the struggles for genuine independence. But as the "narrative" progresses, he confronts the problems of lack of economic development (when economic power is the only logic with currency) and movements that are based on nationalism.
Shanrina
This book had a lot of good information in it, and I appreciated the perspective, which isn't one you usually get here. However, the way the information was organized made it difficult to follow, and the writing was extremely dense. I don't really mind dense writing most of the time, but this was really hard to get through.
Kersplebedeb
A history of the idea of the Third World, and how it played out in the 20th century, from a socialist perspective. Snapshots, examples and anecdotes, used to illustrate the trajectory of a dream - not a comprehensive history.
Mcangelo
It was a good history of the elite of the Third World. The title is misleading as it does not focus on the people per se. I think it was badly written and it became a drag to read. Very informative though.
Ann
A good history of the symbolism of the international system from the perspective of the "global south." The official line but I wouldn't call it a people's history-- rather their governments.
Naeem
Jul 26, 2007 Naeem marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I read the first 100 pages of this and loved it. It is inspired by Stavrianos's Global Rift. Vijay is one of the smartest and sweetest people I know.
Michael
great history of the emergence of the third world as a political project and alternative to soviet and u.s. hegemony, its failures and successes.
Reena
Sep 30, 2007 Reena rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in history & politics
The history you don't learn in high school or that you forget. Not sure what I expected when I bought it but not what I expected...good read!
Amanda
As dense as everything. I want to finish this someday Vijay Prashad because I heard what you said at the church and I believe it too.
Tram Nguyen
Inspiring, and very educational. Makes you wonder what an anti-capitalism movement would be today.
Michael Benton
Reading for preparation for my lectures in HUM 221: Contemporary Perspectives on Peace and War
Geo
vijay prashad's seminal study of the history of the third world as a political subject.
Nick
I was hoping for more current event-y stuff, and the history was making me tired.
Brownguy
Looked for ages, liked the structure; enjoyed the history.
Rabya
has anyone read this book yet?
Harjit Singh Gill
Brilliant. Fucking brilliant.
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