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First published in 2005, The Fate of Africa was hailed by reviewers as "A masterpiece....The nonfiction book of the year" (The New York Post); "a magnificent achievement" (Weekly Standard); "a joy," (Wall Street Journal) and "one of the decade’s most important works on Africa" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

Now Martin Meredith has revised this classic history to incorporate important recent developments, including the Darfur crisis in Sudan, Robert Mugabe’s continued destructive rule in Zimbabwe, controversies over Western aid and exploitation of Africa’s resources, the growing importance and influence of China, and the democratic movement roiling the North African countries of Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan.

Published: PublicAffairs on Sep 6, 2011
ISBN: 9781610391320
List price: $22.99
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Excellent history of modern Africa and how it got here!read more
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Meredith seeks to offer the reader a broad look at the politics and historical events that have defined Africa (at least the western view of Africa) since the period of independence from colonial powers starting in the mid 1950's. Meredith is a journalist and his writing is engaging in an expected journalistic style. The fact that it is in journalistic style means that it focuses quite a bit on the 'newsworthy' aspects of African history while largely ignoring the few success stories such as Botswana. On the other hand, if Meredith had sought to definitvely cover every aspect of African history in the last fifty years, the book could easily have grown into several volumes. I recommend the book for anyone who is seeking to gain some perspective on what has happened in Africa the last fifty years. For the most part our (US) media ignores this stuff or only gives it passing reference and generally focuses more on the Middle East. If anyone is going to live and work in Africa, you will find this book a helpful introduction. I give you the same advice that the person who gave me did - give yourself the winter to read it - it is lengthy and quite an undertaking to read it - but well worth the time invested.read more
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Breathtakingly painful history. What can we do? Its unbelievable in how much of a pattern there is.read more
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Reviews

Excellent history of modern Africa and how it got here!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Meredith seeks to offer the reader a broad look at the politics and historical events that have defined Africa (at least the western view of Africa) since the period of independence from colonial powers starting in the mid 1950's. Meredith is a journalist and his writing is engaging in an expected journalistic style. The fact that it is in journalistic style means that it focuses quite a bit on the 'newsworthy' aspects of African history while largely ignoring the few success stories such as Botswana. On the other hand, if Meredith had sought to definitvely cover every aspect of African history in the last fifty years, the book could easily have grown into several volumes. I recommend the book for anyone who is seeking to gain some perspective on what has happened in Africa the last fifty years. For the most part our (US) media ignores this stuff or only gives it passing reference and generally focuses more on the Middle East. If anyone is going to live and work in Africa, you will find this book a helpful introduction. I give you the same advice that the person who gave me did - give yourself the winter to read it - it is lengthy and quite an undertaking to read it - but well worth the time invested.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Breathtakingly painful history. What can we do? Its unbelievable in how much of a pattern there is.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I finished reading The State of Africa by Martin Meredith the other day. It’s a political history of post-independence Africa, and is it ever depressing.The book itself is fantastic, a really in-depth look at just about every African country and how each has evolved politically in the last fifty years. From apartheid in South Africa to radical Islam in the north, via tribal genocides in the centre of the continent, nary a stone is left uncovered.But it makes for a thoroughly downbeat assessment. Essentially, the European countries who colonised the continent and then abandoned it post-WWII fucked it over at first. Then Cold War struggles meant ruthless dictators were kept in power by the superpowers, as long as they didn’t turn to the other side.Many military coups took place, with each takeover followed by promises to open up the country to democracy and the rule of law. Of course, each military-backed ruler merely consolidated his position, and used ethnic/tribal tensions to maintain it. This led to horrific numbers of deaths, most notably in Rwanda and Sudan.Then there was the rampant racism in countries like South Africa (whites on blacks) and Sudan (Muslims on blacks), as well as more general tensions between the north and south. The onset of HIV in the 90s and 00s added to the generally sombre tone.There were positive points, especially towards the end. Democracy is arriving there, in leaps and bounds, but it is still held back in places like Zimbabwe.Meredith is utterly exhaustive in his coverage, and there are some great snippets of information throughout, as well as some truly disturbing anecdotes from what can only be called “survivors”. This book is brilliant, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has even the vaguest interest in Africa, African politics and modern African history.
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decent for a survey, but the countries all seem a bit alike after awhile
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Seven out of ten.

A history of the continent of Africa - focusing on the period after independence. Sadly, full of war, corrupt officaldom and tales of incompetence.

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