The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence

The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence

Paperback

By (author) Martin Meredith

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Paperback $15.21
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 784 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 234mm x 56mm | 939g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0857203878
  • ISBN 13: 9780857203878
  • Edition statement: Trade Paperback.
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, maps, ports.
  • Sales rank: 84,300

Product description

Africa is forever on our TV screens, but the bad-news stories (famine, genocide, corruption) massively outweigh the good (South Africa). Ever since the process of de-colonialisation began in the mid-1950s, and arguably before, the continent has appeared to be stuck in a process of irreversible decline. Constant war, improper use of natural resources and misappropriation of revenues and aid monies contribute to an impression of a continent beyond hope. How did we get here? What, if anything, is to be done? Fully revised and updated and weaving together the key stories and characters of the last sixty years into a stunningly compelling and coherent narrative, Martin Meredith has produced the definitive history of how European ideas of how to organise 10,000 different ethnic groups has led to what Tony Blair described as the 'scar on the conscience of the world'. Authoritative, provocative and consistently fascinating, this is the updated edition of the seminal book on one of the most important issues facing the West today.

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Author information

Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer and historian who has written extensively on Africa and its recent history. He is the author of many books including The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence; Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe, and Mandela: A Biography. He lives near Oxford.

Review quote

'This descent from liberatory euphoria to the heart of darkness is all too symbolic of what Africa has gone through since independence, and it is this that Meredith chronicles in a series of often vivid country snapshots ... Meredith is a sure guide to this colossal, sad story R W Johnson, SUNDAY TIMES 'As a popular introduction to the subject it could hardly be bettered' Daily Telegraph 11/06 'A clear-sighted examination of Africa's plight... Contrary to the simplistic view of those who prefer to lash the West for its mishandling of the continent, there is a vast amount only Africa can put right' Daily Telegraph 18/6 'In Africa the past does matter. It explains the present and no one is going to move anywhere without it. That is why this book is important. It's about how we got here. The legions of development missionaries ... should all be given a free copy. This book is also great narrative. Delivered in digestible chunks ... Meredith is at his best telling the story of the rise and fall of each ruler ... Meredith has given a spectacularly clear view of the African political jungle from above' Richard Dowden, SPECTATOR 'As a narrative of Africa's political trajectory since independence, this book is hard to beat. Meredith packs a lot of empirical information into his text without overwhelming his reader. The book is elegantly written as well as unerringly accurate, and despite its considerable length it holds the attention of the reader to the end ... Excellent ... Some of his anecdotes are priceless ... the book is impressive in many ways' Paul Nugent, FINANCIAL TIMES Martin Meredith discussed with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown 'What's wrong with the way Africa and it problems are portrayed in Britain?' Today, BBC Radio 4 1/7 'In the time it takes to watch an all-day pop concert in Hyde Park, anyone looking for an understanding of Africa's problems can and should read Martin Meredith's authoritative analysis of the post-independence continent. The writer, who is as even-handed in this country-by-country history as he was in his biography of Robert Mugabe three years ago, does not fall into the dangerous trap of calling for debt relief or more aid ... If Meredith's conclusion is depressing, his dispassionate analysis does more than perhaps he realises to set the past 50 African years in a continuum' Alex Duval Smith, INDEPENDENT 'Any would-be demonstrator at the G8 summit in Scotland this week should take a look into this harrowing but sober volume. Martin Meredith offers an excellent account of the miseries of modern Africa, relentless in its scope. He gives in his more discursive sections a withering critique of the futility and hypocrisy of Western governments in a continent they have only made darker' Michael Fry, SCOTTISH SUNDAY MAIL 'The Bestselling History Titles in June... No 13. The State of Africa... A highly readable digest of half a century of woes in the cradle of mankind' ECONOMIST 'You cannot even begin to understand contemporary African politics if you have not read this fascinating book' Bob Geldof 'The State of Africa, Meredith's account of four decades of systematic diversion of Africa's wealth to criminal local elites and their accomplices in rich nations, provides a salutary corrective to the current interantional debate, a reminder of how discussions of African countries often lack the thing they most need: a historical perspective... Meredith's historically rooted scepticism may be pessimistic and politically inconvenient, but it is part of a debate that needs to be heard' TLS 4/11 'This magisterial history seeks to explore the myriad problems that Africa has faced in the past half-century, and indeed still faces' Sunday Telegraph 9/4