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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,956 ratings  ·  81 reviews
The decisiveness of the short period of colonialism and its negative consequences for Africa spring mainly from the fact that Africa lost power. Power is the ultimate determinant in human society, being basic to the relations within any group and between groups. It implies the ability to defend one's interests and if necessary to impose one’s will by any means available. I
Paperback, 312 pages
Published January 1st 1981 by Howard University Press (first published 1972)
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Alexandra "Development in human society is a many-sided process. At the level of the individual, it implies increased skill and capacity, grater freedom…more"Development in human society is a many-sided process. At the level of the individual, it implies increased skill and capacity, grater freedom creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being." -Walter Rodney(less)

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4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,956 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: renee
Despite some naïve visions of the success of communism in the Soviet Union and China that might sound very silly to us (considering the book was written in 1972), this book still has some very persuasive points that explain African underdevelopment. The main theme of the book is that underdevelopment was made possible by positive feedback loops starting with the uneven development in earlier centuries enforced by European constant exploitation of raw materials and human labor from Africa. It tra ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Why does Africa seem to be lagging behind general global development? I believe that it is not only the current and aftereffects of European domination,but the mindset of Africans themselves.
The same type of destruction of traditional culture took place on other continents by Europeans, but Africa seems to have borne the brunt of it all.
There is a self-evident intolerance within the Caucasian psyche for African features and values, and thus there has been a continuous process of assimilation.
I a
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first three chapters, on development in general, and development in Africa before the arrival of Europeans, and development in Europe, were quite dull, though the second has many fascinating snippets of information, it was too brief a tour to give the subject the kind of attention that would make it enjoyable rather than necessary, and I wasn't convinced that measuring social conditions in the various African societies against a very Eurocentric model of so-called development was actually ne ...more
أَحمَد إبرَاهِيم
يمكننا القول أن الفتوحات الإسلامية أوسع إنقاذ للبشر عبر التاريخ ويصح أن نقول أنها عملية الإنقاذ الوحيدة الحقيقية المعروفة في تاريخ الامبراطوريات.
كتاب مؤلم للغاية...والأكثر إيلاما أن مؤلفه قتل في الثامنة والثلاثين من عمره بسبب ما كتبه.
دور افريقيا في نهضة اوروبا
دور اوروبا في استعمار افريقيا
دور اوروبا في البقاء على افريقيا متخلفة
الكتاب يقع تحت هذه المحاور...ويكشف الكثير من التاريخ والجغرافيا ودراسات التقدم والتخلف وآفاق المستقبل والنمو.
أفريقيا ...رحلة البحث عن الأمة والنهضة والوحدة...فاشلة حتى الآ
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa
Amazing! Incredible! Eye-opening, ground-breaking, gripping, exciting, wonderful!

I love this book and I wished I had read it years ago. Not only does it throw open the colonial exploitation of Africa, but it brings pre-Colonial and pre-European-Slave-Trade Africa to life. Rodney puts together a biting criticism of Europe's interaction with Africa starting in the 15th century with trading, both the slave trade and the trade in goods. This essentially killed inter-Africa trade, forcing African civ
Jerald Andrew
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
First I had bought and read this book as a teenager, then I had to read it in college. Now - I found it and wanted to read it again just for myself. Changed my thinking. I am going to re-read the mis-education of the negro.
Feb 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Just read this for class. It is a political/economic commentary on capitalism from the perspective of a socialist. If you care or wonder about the socioeconomic conditions of African nations and why it is the way it is read this book- a little bit at a time.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A historiographical approach to the detriment of African plight and continued exploitation Very relevant today and good for anyone searching for suppressed historical truths A Book for all who seek to know the truth about African nations oppression and subjugation by the Secret government behind the Western powers Europe and other developed nations of the Western world are handgloves through which the globalist operate to keep nations impoverished and in debt Africa was the experiment and now th ...more
Whitlaw Mugwiji
A must read for Africa's leaders and its people. In this book, Walter Rodney, uses historical materialism to explain the nature of Africa's current underdevelopment and economic backwardness.

" To know the present we must look into the past and to know the future we must look into the past and the present". This is the essence of the book and trust me, the analysis is profound and an added advantage is that it is clear and concise.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Excellent review of the issues caused by colonialism. The author tries to strike a balance between both sides of the issue, and covers complex problems in a very approachable manner.
A very, very important book.
George Roper
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
"THE COLONIES HAVE BEEN CREATED FOR THE METROPOLE BY THE METROPOLE" (French saying). To understand the present one must study the past. To forecast the future one must be aware of the present and how we got there. Walter Rodney's scholarly book makes compelling arguments for the relative underdevelopment of Africa being significantly due in part to the involvement of Europeans in African affairs starting with the Atlantic slave trade - which commenced in the 15th century and lasted into the late ...more
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Everyone with a Western-centric education should consider reading this book. Yes it is dated and flawed in numerous ways, however it meticulously conveys a truth that is unfortunately still often ignored even 50 years later: The riches of the Enlightenment in Europe did not come for free, and they certainly don’t prove any intrinsic superiority of the West. Instead, they were built on the exploitation of a continent (and beyond), both through slavery and colonialism.

Rodney argues (usi
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Rodney's book conveys how Europe and the US got to the positions they are in today, and of course, how Africa was REDUCED to the state it is in now. He shows how the aggrandizement of the West is directly tied to the immense amount of knowledge and resources that Africa provided prior to the coming of the slave trade and colonialism (however he could have elaborated on this more), followed by the benefits of the hyper-exploitation that Africans endured due to the actions of the racist, hypocriti ...more
Steven Berbec
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a history lesson all of us in the West must give ourselves to. The legacy and work that Rodney has left behind is still blazing and still waiting for a people to take up the torch and set ablaze the hearts of men who are still being exploited and caught up in the myths of development. After reading the post-script, I felt responsible and would like to believe I have been making my way toward this responsibility, but ever so slowly—thoroughly.

Considering where I am today, it is of no coin
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: marxists, politcal economy nerds, anti-racist folks, anti-globalization activists
Rodney provides a well-researched and detailed Marxist analysis of the systemic role of European colonialism, racism, and capitalist exploitation and its impact on the history of Africa. The book seems a bit dated now (it was originally published in 1972), particularly in regards to Rodney's unquestioningly high regard for Mao's China and other "socialist" governments that have since been more thoroughly critiqued. However, the negative economic effects of "free trade"/globalization/colonialism ...more
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A truly seminal work of historic analysis. I should have read this some years back but didn't, I'm glad that has been rectified.
Though I don't agree with the author's pre-suppositions on socialism, his insights and analyses of Africa's contact with capitalist Europe through slave trade and colonialism, and Africa's development before this contact occured are eye-opening to say the least.
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely required reading for all those who are interested in African/African American History. I study this book during college as part of a work-study program. Others books included were Capitalism and Slavery; The World and Africa; and George Padmore's book on Pan Africanism.
An extremely well-researched text detailing the effects on African people and societies of their asymmetrical relationship with European states and capitalists starting in the 16th century.

So much so, that it was somewhat hard for me to read. There were a lot of numbers, figures, and specific anecdotes which clearly were important for backing up his argument, but slowed down my reading of the book. Regardless, I took a lot out of it. I feel like I can explain how Western European states and inve
This is one of the earliest and very best applications of dependency theory. Anyone interested in neo-Marxist theories of political economy ought to read this book.
Casca Amanquah Hackman
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What an eye opener? The historical trace of global economics to its present dynamism is serious. It remains the best book I have ever read.
Erik Nygren
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great and essential read. I think it’s true that this book had some naive views of the future of the Soviet Union and the imminent spread of socialism in general, but it more than makes up for it by it’s incredible recollection of the past. I became aware of this book reading Andrew Rice’s “The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda”, where Andrew refers to this book as a classic.

Reading this book gave me:

- Profound insights into Africa’s contemporary i
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To quote A.M. Babu from the postscript, “If, by looking into the past we have known the present, to know the future we must look into the past and present.”

Dr. Walter Rodney spares not a word covering the four centuries of slavery and one century of colonization in Africa, but rightly starts with the history of Africa, speaking of prosperous societies, plundered by slavery and colonization and deprived of a chance to grow, but instead continuously underdeveloped.

Wonderful book. Every single per
Carlos Martinez
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An indispensable overview of the last half-millennium of relations between Africa and Europe, describing in meticulous detail the means by which European (and Euro-derived) dominance of the global economy was achieved in no small part thanks to the ruthless and relentless subjugation of Africa and its peoples.

One of the handful of books that pretty much everybody should read.
Susan Steed
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another book that I've been meaning to read for some time, I thought I'd know what the arguments he would make are, but this book goes deeper than anything else I've read on this topic. It starts off with history of all the ancient empires of Africa, and goes historically up until the late 60s (when published). The history is devastating. And nothing has changed since he wrote the book, many of the case studies he uses of the multinational companies he lambastes in this book, are still a ...more
Leonard Ondigo
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is full of chilling facts on how we Africans have been exploited and how also permitted the exploitation to take troll on us, either through ignorance or force. The book has been an eye opener to me.
Tricia Wagner
Amazing book
Nov 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ANYONE with an open mind
I read this book while studying abroad in Sub-Saharan Africa. It's amazing. Highly recommend it! Will give you more insight into the continent of Africa than watching an Oprah special...
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
THE Glimpse it offers into tyrannical Europe is too vivid, and provokes emotions.
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A must read for a different account which shows the reason behind the current state of affairs in Africa.
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It’s incredible how the systems were created 2 4 Dec 07, 2018 06:09PM  
  • The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World
  • Estado y revolución
  • Capitalism & Slavery
  • Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature
  • African Perspectives on Colonialism
  • Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World
  • The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
  • "Exterminate All the Brutes": One Man's Odyssey into the Heart of Darkness and the Origins of European Genocide
  • How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems in Race, Political Economy, and Society
  • Discourse on Colonialism
  • Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya
  • Toward the African Revolution
  • The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class
  • Yurugu: An African-centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior
  • Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe
  • Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil
  • A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa
  • Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism
Walter Rodney was born in British Guiana. Rodney was killed by a bomb in his car at the age of 38.
“For the only great men among the unfree and the oppressed are those who struggle to destroy the oppressor.” 20 likes
“After all, if there is no class stratification in a society, it follows that there is no state, because the state arose as an instrument to be used by a particular class to control the rest of society in its own interests.” 9 likes
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