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The Fate of Africa
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The Fate of Africa

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  4,776 Ratings  ·  388 Reviews
"The fortunes of Africa have changed dramatically in the fifty years since the independence era began. As Europe's colonial powers withdrew, dozens of new states were launched amid much jubilation and to the world's applause. African leaders stepped forward with energy and enthusiasm to tackle the problems of development and nation-building, boldly proclaiming their hopes ...more
Published 2005 by Public Affairs Books
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Richp The European imperial powers were all badly damaged by WW2. That was not the only reason, and Kodingo's answer makes many good points.
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Paul Bryant
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with strong stomachs
Shelves: africa
Five stars for this plain, urgent, and very comprehensive account of Africa since the colonial powers packed up and left, or were booted out. And as far as I know, this is the only book which covers all of Africa in the last 50 years. But I think readers should be issued with a warning. You have to ask yourselves if you have a strong stomach. Because make no mistake, this is a horror story, and it has left me with a feeling close to despair. Let me give you some examples chosen at random. From p ...more
Craig Werner
Jan 31, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
The problems with this book begin with the second word of the title, recur in the subtitle and never diminish until Meredith limps home with a final paragraph attributing the problems of what he might as well just call "the dark continent" to the personal failures of Africa's leaders and elites. I'll detail these criticisms in a moment, but first I want to identify the book's fundamental failure: it gives no attention to *Africans* as anything other than a faceless mass; to make matters worse, h ...more
May 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History junkies and everyone with an interest in Africa
There are history books written by historians, and there are history books written by journalists. Martin Meredith is first and foremost a journalist, and this book focuses on telling stories and bringing the expansive personalities of African big men to the fore. Yet Meredith doesn't skimp on the statistics and the "hard facts," although I do wish he had a few more citations. And many of the standard criticisms of history can be leveled against this work: it tells the story of the elite, and co ...more
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war-works
A history of the fifty years of independent Africa was never going to be a pretty read but I have to say it was traumatic in the extreme. Meredith is an incredibly well informed and articulate writer who dissects and analyses the debacle of the descent of a whole continent into misery and terror.

The initial hope-filled rush to Independence was swiftly tripped up by incompetence and inexperience, the fault of which has to be laid heavily at the feet of the ex-colonial powers of Europe, but the k
Martin Budd
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I consider myself a fairly cynical grounded middle aged adult male. Born into a mining community, started my working life in a tough factory as a fork truck driver. But reading this book made me feel weak,impotent and utterly helpless in the face of the litany of misery, murder and mayhem that has been the lot of the continent of Africa over the last 50 years.I cannot even begin to imagine how the living hell of so many African people can be made easier - nothing seems to work.

The book itself is
Justin Evans
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-etc
From now on, when I'm trying to explain to someone what 'irony' does not mean, I'll use this example: while I was on a plane between LA and Phillie, the entire world was watching a half hour documentary about a repulsive lunatic, and being encouraged to start a war in Uganda (i.e., the wrong country) in order to 'bring him to justice.' I finished this book just as we landed (I'd started it before I flew; it's very, very long), checked my email, and... you can guess the rest. That is not irony. I ...more
Dec 31, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this knowing little about Africa's history, whether before or after independence; now I have a better idea about the political events that followed the latter. The author, Martin Meredith, focuses on this angle more than any other. Focusing on one state at a time, he establishes the conditions of the state on the eve of independence, then describes the action of the leaders that took power and the subsequent consequences. Given that nearly every leader took full control of executive ...more
Long and sobering history of tragedies. The evil people can do to each other is revealed fully here. The scope of the work is also very impressive, as I'm not sure there are too many other works which even attempt to go on this scale while are intended for the general public.
Aug 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book covers African states from independence to the present in a fairly straightforward narrative. Political instability is stressed to the point that a more appropriate title might be "What Went Wrong in Africa". The story is told in a generally matter-of-fact, journalistic style and concentrates on failed states. By concentrating on the coups and dictatorships the book leaves out important and possibly revealing counter-examples. Botswana, for example, enjoyed decades of stable democracy ...more
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A great history reference but gets stuck on the narrative of Africa being so victimized that it neglects the hope somewhere in there and intentionally or not, seems to throw its hands up in surrender. And maybe that's part of the point of the book, but I refuse to believe that an entire continent and its people are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the colonists and corrupt governments over and over again. It's likely unfair of me to judge it based on that since the author specifically points out ...more
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  • The Scramble for Africa: The White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912
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  • A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa
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  • Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya
  • The Challenge for Africa
  • The Shackled Continent: Africa's Past, Present and Future. Robert Guest
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  • Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil
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  • The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers 1804-1999
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Martin Meredith is a historian, journalist and biographer, and author of many acclaimed books on Africa.

Meredith first worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa for the Observer and Sunday Times, then as a research fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Residing near Oxford, he is now an independent commentator and author.

Meredith’s writing has been described as authoritative and well-documented
More about Martin Meredith...
“Belgian officials concluded that 'the Hutu-Tutsi question posed an undeniable problem' and proposed that official usage of the terms 'Hutu' and 'Tutsi' - on identity cards, for example - should be abolished. The Hutu, however, rejected the proposal, wanting to retain their identifiable majority; abolition of the identity cards would prevent 'the statistical law from establishing the reality of facts'. The idea gained ground that majority rule meant Hutu rule.” 2 likes
“The same blight affects most o Africa. Time and again, its potential for economic development has been disrupted by the predatory politics of ruling elites seeking personal gain, often precipitating violence for their own ends. ‘The problem is not so much that development has failed’, observed the Nigerian academic, Claude Ake, in his essay Democracy and Development in Africa, ‘as that was never really on the agenda on the first place.’ After decades of mismanagement and corruption, most African states have become hollowed out. They are no longer instruments capable of serving the public good. Indeed, far from being able to provide aid and protection to their citizens, African governments and the vampire-like politicians who run them are regarded by the populations they rule as yet another burden they have to bear in the struggle for survival.” 0 likes
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