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Blaine Harden
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Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  118 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The powerful and the powerless are here in dramatic narratives that explain a land swept up in change, lurching between an unworkable Western present and a collapsing African past. By focusing on individuals, Blaine Harden uncovers an Africa that endures behond the sum of its statistics.
Hardcover, 333 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published September 1990)
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Phil Williams
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in learning about Africa, with personal but far reaching tales.
There is a dearth of good literature in English about the continent of Africa and its general history, and a great deal of ignorance for the outsider looking in. With this book, Blaine Harden made an admiral effort to give an insight into the continent, creating vivid pictures of very unique pockets of African history, society and culture. Now dated by over two decades, this is both a readable analysis of the modern history of certain African nations and a source of history itself, thanks to ...more
John Crippen
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Very good writing about politics in several sub-Saharan countries in the eighties, including a bit on Liberia.
Muriuki  MD
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
My first read on issues affecting contemporary Africa and I loved it. Harden not only gives a balanced opinion about a continent often seen as being plagued by hopelessness, he takes readers through all that real and imagined desolation and manages to conjure a sense of optimism. Apart from learning a little history, I thoroughly enjoyed his literal prowess and witty humor. I hope he writes a 21st century sequel.
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was banned in Kenya because of what it had to say about the leadership at that time. Harden did a great job of showing the reality of the time. Wish he had continued to write about the continent through the intervening years.
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Good on Kenya, quite enthusiastic on Nigeria, some interesting stuff about kinship and the Big Men, but it's dated. The author thinks discredited free market policies and structural adjustment programmes work. He was writing in the End of History 90s though..
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dated now but for its time, a very well-balanced view of Africa. Presents it as a continent of incredible people plagued by appalling despotic leaders, all completely unaccountable to anyone.
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology, history
This really opens my American's eyes to the blindness we permit mass media to not discuss. Sometime smells rotten and I think it starts in my wallet.
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Harden is an author and journalist who worked for The Washington Post for 28 years as a correspondent in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia, as well as in New York and Seattle. He was also a national correspondent for The New York Times and writer for the Times Magazine. He has contributed to The Economist and PBS Frontline.

Harden's newest book, "King of Spies," is out in October of 2017. It's the

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