As Africa attracts investment from China and elsewhere, observers foresee a bright future for the continent. A range of books – including The Next Factory of the World and Rwanda, Inc. – predict rapid economic growth and robust development. Journalist Martin Meredith’s examination of Africa’s recent history offers no such optimism. Since the 1960s, he writes, the continent’s story has been one of broken promises, squandered potential, governmental corruption and incompetence. In Africa, periods of difficulty become apocalyptically bad, with grinding poverty, starving children, rampant disease and corrupt government officials. On a continent where few nations did anything to stem the AIDS epidemic, life seems cheap. In a rare bright spot in Meredith’s history, Nelson Mandela endured imprisonment and emerged to lead a democracy movement in South Africa. getAbstract recommends this sobering 700-page reality check to investors, global managers, NGO workers, historians and students. He last updated his history in 2011, just as Africa showed new signs of growth, but his overview’s comprehensive nature still warrants and rewards a thoughtful read.
About the Author
Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer and historian. His previous books include Mandela: A Biography and Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life.