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Books: General Interest, History

George B.N. Ayittey, Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future, Palgrave Macmillan (2005).

George B.N. Ayittey does not mince words when he describes reasons for dismal performance of African economies: lack of economic freedom (price controls, etc), oppressive governments, civil and political strife, crumbling infrastructure, and no freedom of speech. The way to economic prosperity, in author's opinion, should be based on African traditions of free markets, free trade, and freedom of speech. Botswana reached back to its African roots and is the fastest developing country on the African continent.

Martin Meredith, The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair, Public Affairs (2005), ISBN: 1586482467

Martin Meredith presents an objective look at the history of African nations since the era of independence. The reasons for the dismal performance of independent nations of Africa are well presented. The greed and incompetence of ruling classes is appalling. After reading the book I had a much better understanding of what went wrong in Africa.

Basil Davidson, The Lost Cities of Africa, Back Bay Books (1959), ISBN: 0313332312 (1959).

This book describes the development of Iron Age cultures of sub-saharan Africa. I enjoyed reading it. The material in the book agrees with my findings in the Grasslands of Cameroon. Every village I visited had stories about their ancestors arriving from Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, or Yemen.

Daniel Laine, African Kings, Ten Speed Press (2001).

Pictures of African Kings in their traditional regalia form the main part of this oversized book. Each pictures is accompanied by a short description of the king, tribe, and rituals. It is interesting to note that a white man can also be a king.

Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher, African Ceremonies, Harry N. Abrams; Two Volume edition (1999).

A great survey of Africa's rituals and ceremonies. The writers combine stunning images with well-written essays to illustrate traditional lifestyles.

Last updated on September 6, 2007. Maintained by Andrzej Gutek.