Top African History Ebooks

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Detective Quarter - Algonquin Naalnish Cover Art

Detective Quarter

Detective Quarter by Algonquin Naalnish

Several loyal guards pleaded bitterly around a woman with golden radiance. They knelt on their knees and looked worried. They were not worried about their own lives, but were worried about the lingering figure in front of them.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - Colin Freeman Cover Art

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea The mission to rescue the hostages the world forgot by Colin Freeman

'Captivating, a John le Carre-esque yarn' Telegraph 'A thoroughly good read' Michael Portillo, author of Portillo's Hidden History of Britain and presenter of Great British Railway Journeys 'A compelling story of courage, determination and skill' Terry Waite CBE, author of Taken on Trust The true story of a retired British army officer's private Somali-hostage rescue mission During the peak of the Somali piracy crisis, three ships - from Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan - were hijacked and then abandoned to their fate by their employers, who lacked the money to pay ransoms. All would still be there, were it not for Colonel John Steed, a retired British military attaché, who launched his own private mission to free them. At 65, Colonel Steed was hardly an ideal saviour. With no experience in hostage negotiations and no money behind him, he had to raise the ransom cash from scratch, running the operation from his spare room and ferrying million-dollar ransom payments around in the boot of his car. Drawing on first-hand interviews, former chief foreign correspondent of The Sunday Telegraph , Colin Freeman, who has himself spent time held hostage by Somali pirates, takes readers on an inside track into the world of hostage negotiation and one man's heroic rescue mission.

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The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu - Joshua Hammer Cover Art

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer

To save ancient Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven in this “fast-paced narrative that is…part intellectual history, part geopolitical tract, and part out-and-out thriller” ( The Washington Post ) from the author of The Falcon Thief . In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that were crumbling in the trunks of desert shepherds. His goal: preserve this crucial part of the world’s patrimony in a gorgeous library. But then Al Qaeda showed up at the door. “Part history, part scholarly adventure story, and part journalist survey…Joshua Hammer writes with verve and expertise” ( The New York Times Book Review ) about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world’s greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction. With bravery and patience, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. His heroic heist “has all the elements of a classic adventure novel” ( The Seattle Times ), and is a reminder that ordinary citizens often do the most to protect the beauty of their culture. His the story is one of a man who, through extreme circumstances, discovered his higher calling and was changed forever by it.

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The Fate of Africa - Martin Meredith Cover Art

The Fate of Africa

The Fate of Africa A History of the Continent Since Independence by Martin Meredith

The definitive story of African nations after they emerged from colonialism -- from Mugabe's doomed kleptocracy to Mandela's inspiring defeat of apartheid. The Fate of Africa has been 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). Spanning the full breadth of the continent, from the bloody revolt in Algiers against the French to Zimbabwe's civil war, Martin Meredith's classic history focuses on the key personalities, events and themes of the independence era, and explains the myriad problems that Africa has faced in the past half-century. It covers recent events like the ongoing conflict in Sudan, the controversy over Western aid, the exploitation of Africa's resources, and the growing importance and influence of China.

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Hiyun legend - Yoomee Miwok Cover Art

Hiyun legend

Hiyun legend by Yoomee Miwok

I thought that because of her physique, she would get fat even if she drank saliva. Not only did this group of damned friends have no sympathy for her, they also deliberately eat and drink spicy food in front of her, so that she can only salivate and stare like a pug. Look at the food.

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Born in Africa - Martin Meredith Cover Art

Born in Africa

Born in Africa The Quest for the Origins of Human Life by Martin Meredith

Africa does not give up its secrets easily. Buried there lie answers about the origins of humankind. And yet, though vital clues still remain hidden, scientists have over the last century transformed our understanding about the beginnings of human life. In Born in Africa , Martin Meredith follows scientists' trail of discoveries about human origins, recounting their intense rivalry, personal feuds, and fierce controversies as well as their feats of skill and endurance. And he limns their momentous accomplishments: Scientists have identified more than twenty species of extinct humans. They have firmly established Africa as the birthplace not only of humankind but also of modern humans. They have revealed how early technology, language ability and artistic endeavour all originated in Africa; and they have shown how small groups of Africans spread out from Africa in an exodus sixty-thousand years ago to populate the rest of the world.

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BLACK CHRONICLE - Maloyd Wilson Cover Art

BLACK CHRONICLE

BLACK CHRONICLE by Maloyd Wilson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Innovation for social justice has been a trademark for Maloyd Ben Wilson since his college days at the University of Pittsburgh. While other student groups organized demonstrations, "Ben" Wilson negotiated a friendly take over of nearly half the time slots of the university's radio for Black culture programming. Ben and his neophyte student colleagues used their program time for Blackside; a unique radio political and social justice in America. Ben did all this while playing defense on the University of Pittsburgh Varsity football team and earning a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. After graduation Ben displayed is talent for communication with a flourish on the sports desk of the nation's premier Black newspaper-the legendary Pittsburgh Courier. He moved his passion for sports from graduation for sports from the gridiron to the typewriter. Asa former college athlete, Ben used his persuasive personality and innate sense of curiosity to 'scoop' the white press with the true inside stories of Pittsburgh's great Black sports stars such as Roberto Clement, Willie Stargell, "Mean" Joe Greene, Franco Harris, and John Stallworth. Fast forward to the '90's we find Mr. Wilson as a Publisher of his Pittsburgh based Inside Sports. After the sale of this enterprise Ben upped his technology game to the creation of the Sports Video Magazine-a video tabloid that would go in-depth on stories glossed over on ESPN. Unfortunately, this most creative enterprise was breached before leaving port when his video production and distribution partners entered Chapter 11. Not one to stay put on the sideline, Ben evolved from current sports event to Black history with his now famous publication-Black Chronicle.

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Season of Blood - Fergal Keane Cover Art

Season of Blood

Season of Blood A Rwandan Journey by Fergal Keane

When President Habyarimana’s jet was shot down in April 1994, Rwanda erupted into a hundred-day orgy of killing – which left up to a million dead. Fergal Keane travelled through the country as the genocide was continuing, and his powerful analysis reveals the terrible truth behind the headlines. ‘A tender, angry account … As well as being a scathing indictment – Keane says the genocide inflicted on the Tutsis was planned well in advance by Hutu leaders – this is a graphic view of news-gathering in extremis. It deserves to become a classic’ Independent.

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Speeches of the Emperor Haile Selassie - Haile Selassie Cover Art

Speeches of the Emperor Haile Selassie

Speeches of the Emperor Haile Selassie by Haile Selassie

A collection of the speeches given by the emperor during his extended reign

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Africa since 1940 - Frederick Cooper Cover Art

Africa since 1940

Africa since 1940 The Past of the Present by Frederick Cooper

Africa since 1940 is the flagship textbook in Cambridge University Press' New Approaches to African History series. Now revised to include the history and scholarship of Africa since the turn of the millennium, this important book continues to help students understand the process out of which Africa's position in the world has emerged. A history of decolonisation and independence, it allows readers to see just what political independence did and did not signify, and how men and women, peasants and workers, religious and local leaders sought to refashion the way they lived, worked and interacted with each other. Covering the transformation of Africa from a continent marked by colonisation to one of independent states, Frederick Cooper follows the 'development question' across time, seeing how first colonial regimes and then African elites sought to transform African society in their own ways. He shows how people in cities and villages tried to make their way in an unequal world, through times of hope, despair, renewed possibilities, and continued uncertainties. Looking beyond the debate over what or who may be to blame, Cooper explores alternatives for the future.

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Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War - Howard W. French Cover Art

Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War by Howard W. French

Revealing the central yet intentionally obliterated role of Africa in the creation of modernity, Born in Blackness vitally reframes our understanding of world history. Traditional accounts of the making of the modern world afford a place of primacy to European history. Some credit the fifteenth-century Age of Discovery and the maritime connection it established between West and East; others the accidental unearthing of the “New World.” Still others point to the development of the scientific method, or the spread of Judeo-Christian beliefs; and so on, ad infinitum. The history of Africa, by contrast, has long been relegated to the remote outskirts of our global story. What if, instead, we put Africa and Africans at the very center of our thinking about the origins of modernity? In a sweeping narrative spanning more than six centuries, Howard W. French does just that, for Born in Blackness vitally reframes the story of medieval and emerging Africa, demonstrating how the economic ascendancy of Europe, the anchoring of democracy in the West, and the fulfillment of so-called Enlightenment ideals all grew out of Europe’s dehumanizing engagement with the “dark” continent. In fact, French reveals, the first impetus for the Age of Discovery was not—as we are so often told, even today—Europe’s yearning for ties with Asia, but rather its centuries-old desire to forge a trade in gold with legendarily rich Black societies sequestered away in the heart of West Africa. Creating a historical narrative that begins with the commencement of commercial relations between Portugal and Africa in the fifteenth century and ends with the onset of World War II, Born in Blackness interweaves precise historical detail with poignant, personal reportage. In so doing, it dramatically retrieves the lives of major African historical figures, from the unimaginably rich medieval emperors who traded with the Near East and beyond, to the Kongo sovereigns who heroically battled seventeenth-century European powers, to the ex-slaves who liberated Haitians from bondage and profoundly altered the course of American history. While French cogently demonstrates the centrality of Africa to the rise of the modern world, Born in Blackness becomes, at the same time, a far more significant narrative, one that reveals a long-concealed history of trivialization and, more often, elision in depictions of African history throughout the last five hundred years. As French shows, the achievements of sovereign African nations and their now-far-flung peoples have time and again been etiolated and deliberately erased from modern history. As the West ascended, their stories—siloed and piecemeal—were swept into secluded corners, thus setting the stage for the hagiographic “rise of the West” theories that have endured to this day. “Capacious and compelling” (Laurent Dubois), Born in Blackness is epic history on the grand scale. In the lofty tradition of bold, revisionist narratives, it reframes the story of gold and tobacco, sugar and cotton—and of the greatest “commodity” of them all, the twelve million people who were brought in chains from Africa to the “New World,” whose reclaimed lives shed a harsh light on our present world.

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Lose Your Mother - Saidiya Hartman Cover Art

Lose Your Mother

Lose Your Mother A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route by Saidiya Hartman

In Lose Your Mother , Saidiya Hartman journeys along a slave route in Ghana, following the trail of captives from the hinterland to the Atlantic coast. She retraces the history of the Atlantic slave trade from the fifteenth to the twentieth century and reckons with the blank slate of her own genealogy. There were no survivors of Hartman's lineage, nor far-flung relatives in Ghana of whom she had come in search. She traveled to Ghana in search of strangers. The most universal definition of the slave is a stranger—torn from kin and country. To lose your mother is to suffer the loss of kin, to forget your past, and to inhabit the world as a stranger. As both the offspring of slaves and an American in Africa, Hartman, too, was a stranger. Her reflections on history and memory unfold as an intimate encounter with places—a holding cell, a slave market, a walled town built to repel slave raiders—and with people: an Akan prince who granted the Portuguese permission to build the first permanent trading fort in West Africa; an adolescent boy who was kidnapped while playing; a fourteen-year-old girl who was murdered aboard a slave ship. Eloquent, thoughtful, and deeply affecting, Lose Your Mother is a powerful meditation on history, memory, and the Atlantic slave trade.

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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa - Walter Rodney & Angela Davis Cover Art

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney & Angela Davis

The classic work of political, economic, and historical analysis, powerfully introduced by Angela Davis In his short life, the Guyanese intellectual Walter Rodney emerged as one of the leading thinkers and activists of the anticolonial revolution, leading movements in North America, South America, the African continent, and the Caribbean. In each locale, Rodney found himself a lightning rod for working class Black Power. His deportation catalyzed 20th century Jamaica's most significant rebellion, the 1968 Rodney riots, and his scholarship trained a generation how to think politics at an international scale. In 1980, shortly after founding of the Working People's Alliance in Guyana, the 38-year-old Rodney would be assassinated. In his magnum opus, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa , Rodney incisively argues that grasping "the great divergence" between the west and the rest can only be explained as the exploitation of the latter by the former. This meticulously researched analysis of the abiding repercussions of European colonialism on the continent of Africa has not only informed decades of scholarship and activism, it remains an indispensable study for grasping global inequality today.

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Histoire du Maroc - Daniel Rivet Cover Art

Histoire du Maroc

Histoire du Maroc by Daniel Rivet

Qui pense Maroc est partagé entre des images contrastées : les cités arabisées du Nord et les casbahs berbères du Sud, les musulmans et les juifs, les docteurs de la Loi et les saints. Pour tenir ensemble ces représentations, Daniel Rivet pose les questions primordiales en remontant loin en arrière dans le passé : le Maroc, depuis quand ? la pérennité de la monarchie, pourquoi ? la cohabitation de styles culturels aux antipodes, comment ? Il scrute les étapes de la formation d’un État, puis d’une nation en faisant appel aux forces profondes modelant cette entité émergée sous notre haut Moyen Age, et qui se cristallise à partir du moment où l’Andalousie échappe au Maghreb et où l’Afrique du Nord passe aux Ottomans à l’est d’Oujda. Nous voyons ressortir les variations de cet équilibre si instable au fil des siècles, jusqu’au Maroc à l’orée du XXIe siècle. Les paysages historiques se succèdent, mais aussi les « grands hommes », dont Ibn Tumart, Ahmad al-Mansur, Lyautey et Mohammed V, sans oublier les destins individuels ordinaires (pâtres guerriers du Maroc central, bourgeois marchands et savants de Fès aux XVII° et XVIII° siècles, femmes rurales et jeunesse indocile des grandes villes au XX° siècle) car, selon le mot de Paul Veyne : expliquer plus, c’est raconter mieux.

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Black Reconstruction in America (The Oxford W. E. B. Du Bois) - Henry Louis Gates, Jr. & W. E. B. Du Bois Cover Art

Black Reconstruction in America (The Oxford W. E. B. Du Bois)

Black Reconstruction in America (The Oxford W. E. B. Du Bois) An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880 by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. & W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois was a public intellectual, sociologist, and activist on behalf of the African American community. He profoundly shaped black political culture in the United States through his founding role in the NAACP, as well as internationally through the Pan-African movement. Du Bois's sociological and historical research on African-American communities and culture broke ground in many areas, including the history of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. Du Bois was also a prolific author of novels, autobiographical accounts, innumerable editorials and journalistic pieces, and several works of history. Black Reconstruction in America tells and interprets the story of the twenty years of Reconstruction from the point of view of newly liberated African Americans. Though lambasted by critics at the time of its publication in 1935, Black Reconstruction has only grown in historical and literary importance. In the 1960s it joined the canon of the most influential revisionist historical works. Its greatest achievement is weaving a credible, lyrical historical narrative of the hostile and politically fraught years of 1860-1880 with a powerful critical analysis of the harmful effects of democracy, including Jim Crow laws and other injustices. With a series introduction by editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an introduction by David Levering Lewis, this edition is essential for anyone interested in African American history.

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I Didn't Do It for You - Michela Wrong Cover Art

I Didn't Do It for You

I Didn't Do It for You How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation by Michela Wrong

Scarred by decades of conflict and occupation, the craggy African nation of Eritrea has weathered the world's longest-running guerrilla war. The dogged determination that secured victory against Ethiopia, its giant neighbor, is woven into the national psyche, the product of cynical foreign interventions. Fascist Italy wanted Eritrea as the springboard for a new, racially pure Roman empire; Britain sold off its industry for scrap; the United States needed a base for its state-of-the-art spy station; and the Soviet Union used it as a pawn in a proxy war. In I Didn't Do It for You, Michela Wrong reveals the breathtaking abuses this tiny nation has suffered and, with a sharp eye for detail and a taste for the incongruous, tells the story of colonialism itself and how international power politics can play havoc with a country's destiny.

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My Friend the Mercenary - James Brabazon Cover Art

My Friend the Mercenary

My Friend the Mercenary A Memoir by James Brabazon

“Intensely vivid story of war and the peculiar breed of warriors who fight in 21st-century Africa . . . and tribute to an extraordinary comrade-at-arms.” — Kirkus Reviews   In February 2002, British journalist James Brabazon set out to travel with guerrilla forces into Liberia to show the world what was happening in that war-torn country. To protect him, he hired Nick du Toit, a former South African Defence Force soldier who had fought in conflicts across Africa for over three decades. What follows is an incredible behind-the-scenes account of the Liberian rebels—known as the LURD—as they attempt to seize control of the country from government troops led by President Charles Taylor.   In this gripping narrative, James Brabazon paints a brilliant portrait of the chaos that tore West Africa apart: nations run by warlords and kleptocrats, rebels fighting to displace them, ordinary people caught in the crossfire—and everywhere adventurers and mercenaries operating in war’s dark shadows. It is a brutally honest book about what it takes to be a journalist, survivor, and friend in this morally corrosive crucible.   “A classic story of intrigue, greed, and violence in one of the most dysfunctional countries in the world. It is a gripping story that I couldn’t read fast enough.” —Sebastian Junger, New York Times –bestselling author

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Foreign Intervention in Africa - Elizabeth Schmidt Cover Art

Foreign Intervention in Africa

Foreign Intervention in Africa From the Cold War to the War on Terror by Elizabeth Schmidt

Foreign Intervention in Africa chronicles the foreign political and military interventions in Africa from 1956 to 2010, during the periods of decolonisation and the Cold War, as well as during the periods of state collapse and the 'global war on terror'. In the first two periods, the most significant intervention was extra-continental. The USA, the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and the former colonial powers entangled themselves in countless African conflicts. During the period of state collapse, the most consequential interventions were intra-continental. African governments, sometimes assisted by powers outside the continent, supported warlords, dictators and dissident movements in neighbouring countries and fought for control of their neighbours' resources. The global war on terror, like the Cold War, increased foreign military presence on the African continent and generated external support for repressive governments. In each of these cases, external interests altered the dynamics of Africa's internal struggles, escalating local conflicts into larger conflagrations, with devastating effects on African peoples.

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Return to Laughter - Elenore Smith Bowen Cover Art

Return to Laughter

Return to Laughter by Elenore Smith Bowen

This classic of anthropological literature is a dramatic, revealing account of an anthropologist’s first year in the field with a remote African tribe. Simply as a work of ethnographic interest, Return to Laughter provides deep insights into the culture of West Africa—me subtle web of its tribal life and the power of the institution of witchcraft. However, the author’s fictional approach gives the book its lasting appeal. She focuses on the human dimension of anthropology, recounting her personal triumphs and failures and documenting the profound changes she undergoes. As a result, her story becomes at once highly personal and universally recognizable. She has vividly brought to life the classic narrative of an outsider caught up and deeply involved in an utterly alien culture. “The first introspective account ever published of what it’s like to be a field worker among a primitive people.”—Margaret Mead

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Oor krygers, korrelkoppe en konkelaars - Max du Preez Cover Art

Oor krygers, korrelkoppe en konkelaars

Oor krygers, korrelkoppe en konkelaars Ongewone verhale uit ons verlede by Max du Preez

Moenie verwag dat hierdie stories enigsins gaan wees soos die geskiedenis wat jy op skool of universiteit geleer het nie. Max du Preez sit die mense, die karakters, terug in die geskiedenis. Oor krygers, korrelkoppe en konkelaars bevat ‘n keur van die verhale uit die uiters gewilde Of Warriors, Lovers and Prophets van 2004 en Of Tricksters, Tyrants and Turncoats van 2008. Heelwat van dié stories is verder nagevors en herskryf. Daar is ook drie splinternuwe verhale: die merkwaardige storie van die Franse Hugenoteseun wat skipbreuk gely en deur ‘n Xhosahoofman as sy eie aangeneem is; die Engelse lady wat haar glanslewe in Londen vir ‘n ossewa verruil en voor en tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog in die ou Transvaal gesmous het; en die groep Duitse oorlogswesies wat in 1948 in Suid-Afrika aangekom en hier as Afrikaners diep spore getrap het. Daar is stories van Khoikhoi wat as hofknape in die buiteland gebly het; ‘n Duitser wat ‘n Koranna-hoofman geword het; van die merkwaardige wysgeer Mohlomi, die “Boere-Tarzan” Coenraad de Buys; die bittere broedertwis tussen Christiaan en Piet de Wet; van generaal Koos de la Rey se merkwaardige vrou Nonnie; en van twee aspirant-sluipmoordenaars, Robey Leibbrandt en David Pratt. Só word die leser deur al die draaie en dramas van ons geskiedenis geneem – sonder om sondebokke te soek of enigiemand te laat skuldig voel. Max du Preez bewys wéér dat die geskiedenis interessanter – en meer pret – as fiksie kan wees.

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There Was a Country - Chinua Achebe Cover Art

There Was a Country

There Was a Country A Memoir by Chinua Achebe

From the legendary author of Things Fall Apart —a long-awaited memoir of coming of age in a fragile new nation, and its destruction in a tragic civil war For more than forty years, Chinua Achebe maintained a considered silence on the events of the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Decades in the making, There Was a Country is a towering account of one of modern Africa’s most disastrous events, from a writer whose words and courage left an enduring stamp on world literature. A marriage of history and memoir, vivid firsthand observation and decades of research and reflection, There Was a Country is a work whose wisdom and compassion remind us of Chinua Achebe’s place as one of the great literary and moral voices of our age.

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Playing the Enemy - John Carlin Cover Art

Playing the Enemy

Playing the Enemy Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation by John Carlin

Read the book that inspired the Academy Award and Golden Globe winning 2009 film INVICTUS featuring Morgan Freeman and Matt Daymon, directed by Clint Eastwood. Beginning in a jail cell and ending in a rugby tournament- the true story of how the most inspiring charm offensive in history brought South Africa together. After being released from prison and winning South Africa's first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by fifty years of apartheid. His plan was ambitious if not far-fetched: use the national rugby team, the Springboks-long an embodiment of white-supremacist rule-to embody and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela's miraculous effort to bring South Africans together again in a hard-won, enduring bond.

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South Africa: History in an Hour - Anthony Holmes Cover Art

South Africa: History in an Hour

South Africa: History in an Hour by Anthony Holmes

Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour. With the passing of Nelson Mandela, ‘the father of the nation’, comes the end of an era, and the moment to look back on his remarkable saving, and remaking, of South Africa. After years of oppression and racial inequality, concentrated violence and apartheid, Mandela led the country to unite ‘for the freedom of us all’ as the country’s first black President. SOUTH AFRICA: HISTORY IN AN HOUR gives a lively account of the formation of modern South Africa, from the first contact with seventeenth-century European sailors, through the colonial era, the Boer Wars, apartheid and the establishment of a tolerant democracy in the late twentieth century. Here is a clear and fascinating overview of the emergence of the ‘Rainbow Nation’. Know your stuff: read about South African history in just one hour. Reviews ‘If the past is a foreign country, History in an Hour is like a high-class tour operator, offering delightfully enjoyable short breaks in the rich and diverse continent of our shared past’ Dominic Sandbrook ‘The practice of History is ever-evolving, and the History In An Hour idea brings it back up to date for the digital age’ Andrew Roberts, Bookseller ‘This is genius’ MacWorld.com About the author After a career in the management of international engineering companies, Anthony Holmes retired in 2000 and from that time he has concentrated on writing books and articles, mainly in the field of history. He has lived in South Africa since 1949 and witnessed the events leading up to the transition to a fully democratic country in 1994.

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Into Africa - Thomas Sterling Cover Art

Into Africa

Into Africa by Thomas Sterling

When the explorer René Caillié returned to France from Africa in 1828, he published a sketch of the legendary city he had discovered - Timbuctoo. But neither that simple drawing nor his matter-of-fact description gave Caillié’s countrymen a sufficiently colorful picture to match their preconceptions of how Africa should look. They turned their backs on the young explorer, ignored his accomplishments, and let him die neglected. Here are the epic adventures of the European explorers who opened Africa – from Mongo Park and Vasco da Gama to Francis Burton and David Livingstone and Henry Stanley.

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Invictus - John Carlin Cover Art

Invictus

Invictus Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation by John Carlin

Read the book that inspired the Academy Award and Golden Globe winning  2009 film INVICTUS featuring Morgan Freeman and Matt Daymon, directed by Clint Eastwood. Beginning in a jail cell and ending in a rugby tournament—the true story of how the most inspiring charm offensive in history brought South Africa together. After being released from prison and winning South Africa’s first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by fifty years of apartheid. His plan was ambitious if not far-fetched: use the national rugby team, the Springboks—long an embodiment of white-supremacist rule—to embody and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela’s miraculous effort to bring South Africans together again in a hard-won, enduring bond.

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Machete Season - Jean Hatzfeld & Linda Coverdale Cover Art

Machete Season

Machete Season The Killers in Rwanda Speak by Jean Hatzfeld & Linda Coverdale

In April-May 1994, 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were massacred by their Hutu fellow citizens--about 10,000 a day, mostly being hacked to death by machete. In Machete Season , the veteran foreign correspondent Jean Hatzfeld reports on the results of his interviews with nine of the Hutu killers. They were all friends who came from a single region where they helped to kill 50,000 out of their 59,000 Tutsi neighbors, and all of them are now in prison, some awaiting execution. It is usually presumed that killers will not tell the truth about their brutal actions, but Hatzfeld elicited extraordinary testimony from these men about the genocide they had perpetrated. He rightly sees that their account raises as many questions as it answers. Adabert, Alphonse, Ignace, and the others (most of them farmers) told Hatzfeld how the work was given to them, what they thought about it, how they did it, and what their responses were to the bloodbath. "Killing is easier than farming," one says. "I got into it, no problem," says another. Each describes what it was like the first time he killed someone, what he felt like when he killed a mother and child, how he reacted when he killed a cordial acquaintance, how 'cutting' a person with a machete differed from 'cutting' a calf or a sugarcane. And they had plenty of time to tell Hatzfeld, too, about whether and why they had reconsidered their motives, their moral responsibility, their guilt, remorse, or indifference to the crimes. Hatzfeld's meditation on the banal, horrific testimony of the genocidaires and what it means is lucid, humane, and wise: he relates the Rwanda horror to war crimes and to other genocidal episodes in human history. Especially since the Holocaust, it has been conventional to presume that only depraved and monstrous evil incarnate could perpetrate such crimes, but it may be, he suggests, that such actions are within the realm of ordinary human conduct. To read this disturbing, enlightening and very brave book is to consider in a new light the foundation of human morality and ethics.

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The African Origin of Civilization - Cheikh Anta Diop Cover Art

The African Origin of Civilization

The African Origin of Civilization Myth or Reality by Cheikh Anta Diop

Now in its 30th printing, this classic presents historical, archaeological, and anthropological evidence to support the theory that ancient Egypt was a black civilization.

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The Explorers - Martin Dugard Cover Art

The Explorers

The Explorers A Story of Fearless Outcasts, Blundering Geniuses, and Impossible Success by Martin Dugard

Learn to unlock your inner explorer in this riveting account of a great, forbidding adventure and “a fascinating examination of the seven key traits of history’s most famous explorers…[with] infusions of insight and enthusiasm” ( Publishers Weekly , starred review). In 1856, two intrepid adventurers, Richard Frances Burton and John Hanning Speke, set off to unravel a geographical unknown: the location of the Nile River’s source. They traveled deep into an uncharted African wilderness together, arrived at two different solutions to the mystery, and parted ways as sworn enemies. The feud became an international sensation on their return to England, and a public debate was scheduled to decide whose theory was correct. What followed was a massive spectacle with an outcome no one could have foreseen. In The Explorers , New York Times bestselling author Martin Dugard shares the rich saga of the Burton and Speke expedition and guides readers through the seven traits that history’s most legendary explorers called on to survive their impossible journeys. In doing so, Dugard demonstrates that these traits have a most practical application in everyday life. We see St. Brendan the Navigator, driven by hope, sail into the unknown, and the curiosity that inspired John Ledyard to attempt to walk around the globe, and the perseverance Howard Carter needed to discover Tutankhamen’s tomb. From these and other examples, Dugard extracts lessons for unlocking the explorer in us all.

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It's Our Turn to Eat - Michela Wrong Cover Art

It's Our Turn to Eat

It's Our Turn to Eat The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower by Michela Wrong

"A fast-paced political thriller.... Wrong's gripping, thoughtful book stands as both a tribute to Githongo's courage and a cautionary tale." —New York Times Book Review “On one level, It’s Our Turn to Eat reads like a John Le Carré novel.... On a deeper and much richer level, the book is an analysis of how and why Kenya descended into political violence.” — Washington Post Called "urgent and important” by Harper's magazine, It’s Our Turn to Eat is a nonfiction political thriller of modern Kenya—an eye-opening account of tribal rivalries, pervasive graft, and the rising anger of a prospect-less youth that exemplifies an African dilemma.

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Too Close to the Sun - Sara Wheeler Cover Art

Too Close to the Sun

Too Close to the Sun The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton by Sara Wheeler

Denys Finch Hatton was adored by women and idolized by men. A champion of Africa, legendary for his good looks, his charm, and his prowess as a soldier, lover, and hunter, Finch Hatton inspired Karen Blixen to write the unforgettable stories in Out of Africa . Now esteemed British biographer Sara Wheeler tells the truth about this extraordinarily charismatic adventurer. Born to an old aristocratic family that had gambled away most of its fortune, Finch Hatton grew up in a world of effortless elegance and boundless power. Tall and graceful, with the soul of a poet and an athlete’s relaxed masculinity, he became a hero without trying at Eton and Oxford. In 1910, searching for novelty and danger, Finch Hatton arrived in British East Africa and fell in love–with a continent, with a landscape, with a way of life that was about to change forever. Wheeler brilliantly conjures the mystical beauty of Kenya at a time when teeming herds of wild animals roamed unmolested across pristine savannah. No one was more deeply attuned to this beauty than Finch Hatton–and no one more bitterly mourned its passing when the outbreak of World War I engulfed the region in a protracted, bloody guerrilla conflict. Finch Hatton was serving as a captain in the Allied forces when he met Karen Blixen in Nairobi and embarked on one of the great love affairs of the twentieth century. With delicacy and grace, Wheeler teases out truth from fiction in the liaison that Blixen herself immortalized in Out of Africa . Intellectual equals, bound by their love for the continent and their inimitable sense of style, Finch Hatton and Blixen were genuine pioneers in a land that was quickly being transformed by violence, greed, and bigotry. Ever restless, Finch Hatton wandered into a career as a big-game hunter and became an expert bush pilot; his passion that led to his affair with the notoriously unconventional aviatrix Beryl Markham. But Markham was no more able to hold him than Blixen had been. Mesmerized all his life by the allure of freedom and danger, Finch Hatton was, writes Wheeler, “the open road made flesh.” In painting a portrait of an irresistible man, Sara Wheeler has beautifully captured the heady glamour of the vanished paradise of colonial East Africa. In Too Close to the Sun she has crafted a book that is as ravishing as its subject.

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Country of My Skull - Antjie Krog Cover Art

Country of My Skull

Country of My Skull Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa by Antjie Krog

Ever since Nelson Mandela dramatically walked out of prison in 1990 after twenty-seven years behind bars, South Africa has been undergoing a radical transformation. In one of the most miraculous events of the century, the oppressive system of apartheid was dismantled. Repressive laws mandating separation of the races were thrown out. The country, which had been carved into a crazy quilt that reserved the most prosperous areas for whites and the most desolate and backward for blacks, was reunited. The dreaded and dangerous security force, which for years had systematically tortured, spied upon, and harassed people of color and their white supporters, was dismantled. But how could this country--one of spectacular beauty and promise--come to terms with its ugly past? How could its people, whom the oppressive white government had pitted against one another, live side by side as friends and neighbors? To begin the healing process, Nelson Mandela created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, headed by the renowned cleric Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Established in 1995, the commission faced the awesome task of hearing the testimony of the victims of apartheid as well as the oppressors. Amnesty was granted to those who offered a full confession of any crimes associated with apartheid. Since the commission began its work, it has been the central player in a drama that has riveted the country. In this book, Antjie Krog, a South African journalist and poet who has covered the work of the commission, recounts the drama, the horrors, the wrenching personal stories of the victims and their families. Through the testimonies of victims of abuse and violence, from the appearance of Winnie Mandela to former South African president P. W. Botha's extraordinary courthouse press conference, this award-winning poet leads us on an amazing journey. Country of My Skull captures the complexity of the Truth Commission's work. The narrative is often traumatic, vivid, and provocative. Krog's powerful prose lures the reader actively and inventively through a mosaic of insights, impressions, and secret themes. This compelling tale is Antjie Krog's profound literary account of the mending of a country that was in colossal need of change.

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The Wretched of the Earth - Frantz Fanon Cover Art

The Wretched of the Earth

The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

A distinguished psychiatrist from Martinique who took part in the Algerian Nationalist Movement, Frantz Fanon was one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history. Fanonís masterwork is a classic alongside Edward Saidís Orientalism or The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and it is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers. The Wretched of the Earth is a brilliant analysis of the psychology of the colonized and their path to liberation. Bearing singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in effecting historical change, the book incisively attacks the twin perils of postindependence colonial politics: the disenfranchisement of the masses by the elites on the one hand, and intertribal and interfaith animosities on the other. Fanonís analysis, a veritable handbook of social reorganization for leaders of emerging nations, has been reflected all too clearly in the corruption and violence that has plagued present-day Africa. The Wretched of the Earth has had a major impact on civil rights, anticolonialism, and black consciousness movements around the world

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A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa - Steve Kemper Cover Art

A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa

A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa by Steve Kemper

"Kemper’s majestic account of Barth’s journey restores the reputation of an explorer who was as passionate about science as he was about rigorous travel. It’s an enthralling adventure, captivatingly told." —Ziauddin Sardar, Times (London) In 1840 Heinrich Barth joined a small British expedition into unexplored regions of Islamic North and Central Africa. One by one his companions died, but he carried on alone, eventually reaching the fabled city of gold, Timbuktu. His five-and-a-half-year, 10,000-mile trek ranks among the greatest journeys in the annals of exploration, and his discoveries are considered indispensable by modern scholars of Africa. In this historical adventure, the first book about Barth in English, Kemper goes a long way toward rescuing this fascinating figure from obscurity.

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A Savage War of Peace - Alistair Horne Cover Art

A Savage War of Peace

A Savage War of Peace Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne

The Algerian War lasted from 1954 to 1962. It brought down six French governments, led to the collapse of the Fourth Republic, returned de Gaulle to power, and came close to provoking a civil war on French soil. More than a million Muslim Algerians died in the conflict and as many European settlers were driven into exile. Above all, the war was marked by an unholy marriage of revolutionary terror and repressive torture. Nearly a half century has passed since this savagely fought war ended in Algeria’s independence, and yet—as Alistair Horne argues in his new preface to his now-classic work of history—its repercussions continue to be felt not only in Algeria and France, but throughout the world. Indeed from today’s vantage point the Algerian War looks like a full-dress rehearsal for the sort of amorphous struggle that convulsed the Balkans in the 1990s and that now ravages the Middle East, from Beirut to Baghdad—struggles in which questions of religion, nationalism, imperialism, and terrorism take on a new and increasingly lethal intensity. A Savage War of Peace  is the definitive history of the Algerian War, a book that brings that terrible and complicated struggle to life with intelligence, assurance, and unflagging momentum. It is essential reading for our own violent times as well as a lasting monument to the historian’s art.

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The Defense of Duffer's Drift  - Ernest Dunlop Swinton Cover Art

The Defense of Duffer's Drift

The Defense of Duffer's Drift by Ernest Dunlop Swinton

*Introductory Material *Linked TOC *Linked Glossary The Defense of Duffer’s Drift is one of the most important works ever written on small unit tactics and is required reading for junior officers in military organizations around the world. It was written by Major General Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton in 1904 when Swinton was a Captain. It details a fictional encounter in the Boer War. The book is narrated by Lieutenant Backsight Forethought (BF) who has been left in command of 50 men to defend a ford in the river. BF has a series of dreams in which his force is defeated by the Boers. After each dream, BF analyzes his performance and determines lessons learned. By the final dream, his force is successful in holding out until relieved. The lessons BF learned are the timeless lessons of small unit tactics and are as valuable today as they were at the turn of the century. The prose are simple and powerful. This book is essential reading for soldiers and students of tactics or military history.

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In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz - Michela Wrong Cover Art

In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz

In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz Living on the Brink of Disaster in the by Michela Wrong

Known as "the Leopard," the president of Zaire for thirty-two years, Mobutu Sese Seko, showed all the cunning of his namesake -- seducing Western powers, buying up the opposition, and dominating his people with a devastating combination of brutality and charm. While the population was pauperized, he plundered the country's copper and diamond resources, downing pink champagne in his jungle palace like some modern-day reincarnation of Joseph Conrad's crazed station manager. Michela Wrong, a correspondent who witnessed Mobutu's last days, traces the rise and fall of the idealistic young journalist who became the stereotype of an African despot. Engrossing, highly readable, and as funny as it is tragic, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz assesses the acts of the villains and the heroes in this fascinating story of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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A History of South Africa, Fourth Edition - Leonard Thompson Cover Art

A History of South Africa, Fourth Edition

A History of South Africa, Fourth Edition by Leonard Thompson

A magisterial history of South Africa, from the earliest known human inhabitation of the region to the present. Lynn Berat updates this classic text with a new chapter chronicling the first presidential term of Mbeki and ending with the celebrations of the centenary of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress in January 2012.   “A history that is both accurate and authentic, written in a delightful literary style.”—Archbishop Desmond Tutu   “Should become the standard general text for South African history. . . . Recommended for college classes and anyone interested in obtaining a historical framework in which to place events occurring in South Africa today.”—Roger B. Beck, History: Reviews of New Books

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A Thousand Hills - Stephen Kinzer Cover Art

A Thousand Hills

A Thousand Hills Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It by Stephen Kinzer

A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It is the story of Paul Kagame, a refugee who, after a generation of exile, found his way home. Learn about President Kagame, who strives to make Rwanda the first middle-income country in Africa, in a single generation. In this adventurous tale, learn about Kagame’s early fascination with Che Guevara and James Bond, his years as an intelligence agent, his training in Cuba and the United States, the way he built his secret rebel army, his bloody rebellion, and his outsized ambitions for Rwanda.

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The Emperor - Ryszard Kapuscinski Cover Art

The Emperor

The Emperor Downfall of an Autocrat by Ryszard Kapuscinski

This account of the rise and fall of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie is “an unforgettable, fiercely comic, and finally compassionate book” (Salman Rushdie, Man Booker Prize–winning author).   After Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974, Ryszard Kapuściński—Poland’s top foreign correspondent—went to Ethiopia to piece together a firsthand account of how the emperor governed his country, and why he finally fell from power. At great risk to himself, Kapuściński interviewed members of the imperial circle who had gone into hiding.   The result is this remarkable book, in which Selassie’s servants and closest associates share accounts—humorous, frightening, sad, grotesque—of a man living amidst nearly unimaginable pomp and luxury while his people teetered between hunger and starvation. It is a classic portrait of authoritarianism, and a fascinating story of a forty-four-year reign that ended with a coup d’état in 1974.  

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Of Africa - Wole Soyinka Cover Art

Of Africa

Of Africa by Wole Soyinka

A member of the unique generation of African writers and intellectuals who came of age in the last days of colonialism, Wole Soyinka has witnessed the promise of independence and lived through postcolonial failure. He deeply comprehends the pressing problems of Africa, and,an irrepressible essayist and a staunch critic of the oppressive boot, he unhesitatingly speaks out. In this magnificent new work, Soyinka offers a wide-ranging inquiry into Africa's culture, religion, history, imagination, and identity. He seeks to understand how the continent's history is entwined with the histories of others, while exploring Africa's truest assets: "its humanity, the quality and valuation of its own existence, and modes of managing its environment—both physical and intangible (which includes the spiritual)." Fully grasping the extent of Africa's most challenging issues, Soyinka nevertheless refuses defeatism. With eloquence he analyzes problems ranging from the meaning of the past to the threat of theocracy. He asks hard questions about racial attitudes, inter-ethnic and religious violence, the viability of nations whose boundaries were laid out by outsiders, African identity on the continent and among displaced Africans, and more. Soyinka's exploration of Africa relocates the continent in the reader's imagination and maps a course toward an African future of peace and affirmation.

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The Man-Eaters of Tsavo and Other East African Adventures - John Henry Patterson Cover Art

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo and Other East African Adventures

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo and Other East African Adventures by John Henry Patterson

Considered to be one of the most famous stories of man-eating lions in modern times, "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo" is the first-hand account of Lieutanant-Colonel John Henry Patterson's encounter with several man-eating lions during the building of the Uganda railway through British East Africa in 1898. Contained within this volume is the original 1907 book with over a hundred photographs and illustrations.

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Destination Casablanca - Meredith Hindley Cover Art

Destination Casablanca

Destination Casablanca Exile, Espionage, and the Battle for North Africa in World War II by Meredith Hindley

This rollicking and panoramic history of Casablanca during the Second World War sheds light on the city as a key hub for European and American powers, and a place where spies, soldiers, and political agents exchanged secrets and vied for control. In November 1942, as a part of Operation Torch, 33,000 American soldiers sailed undetected across the Atlantic and stormed the beaches of French Morocco. Seventy-four hours later, the Americans controlled the country and one of the most valuable wartime ports: Casablanca. In the years preceding, Casablanca had evolved from an exotic travel destination to a key military target after France's surrender to Germany. Jewish refugees from Europe poured in, hoping to obtain visas and passage to the United States and beyond. Nazi agents and collaborators infiltrated the city in search of power and loyalty. The resistance was not far behind, as shopkeepers, celebrities, former French Foreign Legionnaires, and disgruntled bureaucrats formed a network of Allied spies. But once in American hands, Casablanca became a crucial logistical hub in the fight against Germany -- and the site of Roosevelt and Churchill's demand for "unconditional surrender." Rife with rogue soldiers, power grabs, and diplomatic intrigue, Destination Casablanca is the riveting and untold story of this glamorous city--memorialized in the classic film that was rush-released in 1942 to capitalize on the drama that was unfolding in North Africa at the heart of World War II.

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The Invisible Cure - Helen Epstein Cover Art

The Invisible Cure

The Invisible Cure Why We Are Losing the Fight Against AIDS in Africa by Helen Epstein

A New York Times Notable Book of 2007 The Invisible Cure is an account of Africa's AIDS epidemic from the inside--a revelatory dispatch from the intersection of village life, government intervention, and international aid. Helen Epstein left her job in the US in 1993 to move to Uganda, where she began work on a test vaccine for HIV. Once there, she met patients, doctors, politicians, and aid workers, and began exploring the problem of AIDS in Africa through the lenses of medicine, politics, economics, and sociology. Amid the catastrophic failure to reverse the epidemic, she discovered a village-based solution that could prove more effective than any network of government intervention and international aid, an intuitive response that calls into question many of the fundamental assumptions about the AIDS in Africa. Written with conviction, knowledge, and insight, The Invisible Cure will change how we think about the worst health crisis of the past century--and indeed about every issue of global public health.

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After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa - Douglas Foster Cover Art

After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa

After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa by Douglas Foster

The most important historical and journalistic portrait to date of a nation whose destiny will determine the fate of a continent. A brutally honest exposé, After Mandela provides a sobering portrait of a country caught between a democratic future and a political meltdown. Recent works have focused primarily on Nelson Mandela’s transcendent story. But Douglas Foster, a leading South Africa authority with early, unprecedented access to President Zuma and to the next generation in the Mandela family, traces the nation’s entire post-apartheid arc, from its celebrated beginnings under “Madiba” to Thabo Mbeki’s tumultuous rule to the ferocious battle between Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. Foster tells this story not only from the point of view of the emerging black elite but also, drawing on hundreds of rare interviews over a six-year period, from the perspectives of ordinary citizens, including an HIV-infected teenager living outside Johannesburg and a homeless orphan in Cape Town. This is the long-awaited, revisionist account of a country whose recent history has been not just neglected but largely ignored by the West.

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The Darker Nations - Vijay Prashad Cover Art

The Darker Nations

The Darker Nations A People's History of the Third World by Vijay Prashad

Here, from a brilliant young writer, is a paradigm-shifting history of both a utopian concept and global movement—the idea of the Third World. The Darker Nations traces the intellectual origins and the political history of the twentieth century attempt to knit together the world’s impoverished countries in opposition to the United States and Soviet spheres of influence in the decades following World War II. Spanning every continent of the global South, Vijay Prashad’s fascinating narrative takes us from the birth of postcolonial nations after World War II to the downfall and corruption of nationalist regimes. A breakthrough book of cutting-edge scholarship, it includes vivid portraits of Third World giants like India’s Nehru, Egypt’s Nasser, and Indonesia’s Sukarno—as well as scores of extraordinary but now-forgotten intellectuals, artists, and freedom fighters. The Darker Nations restores to memory the vibrant though flawed idea of the Third World, whose demise, Prashad ultimately argues, has produced a much impoverished international political arena.

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Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It - James Ciment Cover Art

Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It

Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It by James Ciment

The first popular history of the former American slaves who founded, ruled, and lost Africa's first republic In 1820, a group of about eighty African Americans reversed the course of history and sailed back to Africa, to a place they would name after liberty itself. They went under the banner of the American Colonization Society, a white philanthropic organization with a dual agenda: to rid America of its blacks, and to convert Africans to Christianity. The settlers staked out a beachhead; their numbers grew as more boats arrived; and after breaking free from their white overseers, they founded Liberia—Africa's first black republic—in 1847. James Ciment's Another America is the first full account of this dramatic experiment. With empathy and a sharp eye for human foibles, Ciment reveals that the Americo-Liberians struggled to live up to their high ideals. They wrote a stirring Declaration of Independence but re-created the social order of antebellum Dixie, with themselves as the master caste. Building plantations, holding elegant soirees, and exploiting and even helping enslave the native Liberians, the persecuted became the persecutors—until a lowly native sergeant murdered their president in 1980, ending 133 years of Americo rule. The rich cast of characters in Another America rivals that of any novel. We encounter Marcus Garvey, who coaxed his followers toward Liberia in the 1920s, and the rubber king Harvey Firestone, who built his empire on the backs of native Liberians. Among the Americoes themselves, we meet the brilliant intellectual Edward Blyden, one of the first black nationalists; the Baltimore-born explorer Benjamin Anderson, seeking a legendary city of gold in the Liberian hinterland; and President William Tubman, a descendant of Georgia slaves, whose economic policies brought Cadillacs to the streets of Monrovia, the Liberian capital. And then there are the natives, men like Joseph Samson, who was adopted by a prominent Americo family and later presided over the execution of his foster father during the 1980 coup. In making Liberia, the Americoes transplanted the virtues and vices of their country of birth. The inspiring and troubled history they created is, to a remarkable degree, the mirror image of our own.

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African Identities: a New Perspective - Bert van Sloteren Cover Art

African Identities: a New Perspective

African Identities: a New Perspective by Bert van Sloteren

This longread looks back at the past 130 years of African history. The period between 1885 and 1950 was the period of colonization. The period between 1950 and 2015 was a period of decolonization and independence. The book tries to answer the question why the progress in many parts of Africa has been relatively slow. Starting point is 'the curse of 1885': the Berlin Conference, where Africa was carved up without any African involvement. The book shows how Africa has always had to deal with ‘second-hand’ European ideologies and how Europe has introduced different words in dealing with its own people, different from what is being used for Africans. The longread examines these ideas and demonstrates their effects on Africa. It shows how even today, when talking about African cultures, outdated and partly racists concepts are used. It introduces a more modern definition of culture and discusses the Hofstede model of describing cultures using various dimensions. The book calls for a study of African cultures using these modern theories. It points to the importance of nurturing languages and linguistic diversity – something which is happening in Europe, much more than in Africa. The author points out how traditional anthropology and ethnolinguistics present a fragmented picture of African cultures. It calls for an African approach to social science that makes use of modern theories of culture and intercultural communication and that looks in an unbiased way at where the differences are between the peoples of Africa and where the commonalities lie. The book examines the origins and the content of the idea of the Right to Self-Determination and points out that in the decolonization process, that right was not respected. The author examines some of the reasons why things happened this way. He points to differences in the discourse about Africa and about Europe. In Europe, different ethnic groups are named as ‘peoples’ – whereas in Africa, such groups are called ‘tribes’ – an inherently racist form of reasoning that classifies Africans as being more primitive than Europeans. Geopolitical and (racist) cultural ideas combined with ideas on African socialism, together form a potent but toxic cocktail, leading to the current consensus that sees ethnically more or less homogeneous nation states as necessary and good in Europe and in many other parts of the world – but not in Africa. A central thesis of the book is that this is one important explanation for Africa’s lack of progress, explaining to a large extent the nepotism and corruption so prevalent in Africa to this day. The longread goes on discuss a few of the absurdities of African reality today, focusing on Nigeria, the Gambia, Botswana and the Hutu-Tutsi ethnic disaster. This latter is contrasted with the discourse about Croats and Serbs in Europe. In order to overcome the 'curse of 1885', the author calls for: -A study of African culture using modern theory of culture and intercultural communication; -A study of African languages from an African perspective, looking not only at differences but also at commonalities and at possibilities for convergence, at any rate leading to a renaissance of African languages; -A Panafricanist perspective that does not gloss over differences but that respects and cherishes them, seeking to heal the wounds that were inflicted by the curse of 1885 and that is grounded in an appreciation of the uniqueness of all of Africa’s many peoples. For some of Africa’s failed states, such as the Central African Republic, there seems to be no other option than to start to question the traditional borders. For some other countries, it might be possible to work towards models that would allow for increased regional autonomy. This requires a progressive type of nationalism, one that is not xenophobic, but that does not deny the fact that people are rooted in their own language and culture.

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The African Exploration Anthology - Richard Francis Burton, John Hanning Speke, David Livingstone, Henry Morton Stanley, Mungo Park, Samuel White Baker & Mary H. Kingsley Cover Art

The African Exploration Anthology

The African Exploration Anthology by Richard Francis Burton, John Hanning Speke, David Livingstone, Henry Morton Stanley, Mungo Park, Samuel White Baker & Mary H. Kingsley

In the latter half of the 19th Century a group of particularly intrepid explorers navigated their way into the interior of Africa, documenting what they saw, mapping the territory they crossed, and competing with one another to be the first to discover the fabled 'source of the Nile'. The dangers they faced in order to achieve their aims required incredible courage and endurance - from deadly wildlife such as lions, crocodiles and hippos, to the even deadlier unseen threats of Malaria, tropical ulcers and infection, or the risks of violence from the unknown tribes they encountered. Of the seven explorers in this book, five of the texts relate to this era in particular, being the accounts of: Richard Francis Burton, John Hanning Speke, David Livingstone, Henry Morton Stanley and Samuel W. Baker.  The other two accounts are by Mungo Park - one of the earliest 18th Century explorers of Africa - and Mary H. Kingsley, the first solo female explorer to document the account of her personal travels. The texts in this Anthology are unexpurgated, and include appendices, but have all been formatted and optimized, and include selected photos and maps from the expeditions themselves.

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Introduction to African Civilizations - John G. Jackson Cover Art

Introduction to African Civilizations

Introduction to African Civilizations by John G. Jackson

This modern classic is organized as follows:  Introductory Survey  Survey of Pre-Historic Man  Ethiopia at the Crossroads  The Hoare-Laval Plan  Arab-Moorish Civilization and Culture  South Africa  West Africa  Recent Tendencies  Brief Statement of Courses in Schools Today  Groundwork for Teachers  That Word “Negro” — (negro)  Early Traces in the Ancient East  Summary of Native States  Liberia and Sierra Leone  International Relations  Africans in Latin America  Africans in Oceania  African Art  Africans in the United States  Summary and Conclusion  General Bibliography

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The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela - Nelson Mandela & Sahm Venter Cover Art

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela & Sahm Venter

One of NPR's Great Reads of 2018 An unforgettable portrait of one of the most inspiring historical figures of the twentieth century, published on the centenary of his birth. Arrested in 1962 as South Africa’s apartheid regime intensified its brutal campaign against political opponents, forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, the future leader of South Africa wrote a multitude of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and, most memorably, to his courageous wife, Winnie, and his five children. Now, 255 of these letters, many of which have never been published, provide exceptional insight into how Mandela maintained his inner spirits while living in almost complete isolation, and how he engaged with an outside world that became increasingly outraged by his plight. Organized chronologically and divided by the four venues in which he was held as a sentenced prisoner, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela begins in Pretoria Local Prison, where Mandela was held following his 1962 trial. In 1964, Mandela was taken to Robben Island Prison, where a stark existence was lightened only by visits and letters from family. After eighteen years, Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison, a large complex outside of Cape Town with beds and better food, but where he and four of his comrades were confined to a rooftop cell, apart from the rest of the prison population. Finally, Mandela was taken to Victor Verster Prison in 1988, where he was held until his release on February 11, 1990. With accompanying facsimiles of some of his actual letters, this landmark volume reveals how Mandela, a lawyer by training, advocated for prisoners’ human rights. It reveals him to be a loving father, who wrote to his daughter, “I sometimes wish science could invent miracles and make my daughter get her missing birthday cards and have the pleasure of knowing that her Pa loves her,” aware that photos and letters he sent had simply disappeared. More painful still are the letters written in 1969, when Mandela—forbidden from attending the funerals of his mother and his son Thembi—was reduced to consoling family members through correspondence. Yet, what emerges most powerfully is Mandela’s unfaltering optimism: “Honour belongs to those who never forsake the truth even when things seem dark & grim, who try over and & over again, who are never discouraged by insults, humiliation & even defeat.” Whether providing unwavering support to his also-imprisoned wife or outlining a human-rights philosophy that resonates today, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela reveals the heroism of a man who refused to compromise his moral values in the face of extraordinary punishment. Ultimately, these letters position Mandela as one of the most inspiring figures of the twentieth century.   From The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela   “A new world will be won not by those who stand at a distance with their arms folded, but by those who are in the arena, whose garments are torn by storms & whose bodies are maimed in the course of contest.” “I am convinced that floods of personal disaster can never drown a determined revolutionary nor can the cumulus of misery that accompanies tragedy suffocate him.” “My respect for human beings is based, not on the colour of a man’s skin nor authority he may wield, but purely on merit.” “A good pen can also remind us of the happiest moments in our lives, bring noble ideas into our dens, our blood & our souls. It can turn tragedy into hope & victory.”