In A Continent for the Taking Howard W. French, a veteran correspondent for The New York Times , gives a compelling firsthand account of some of Africa’s most devastating recent history–from the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko, to Charles Taylor’s arrival in Monrovia, to the genocide in Rwanda and the Congo that left millions dead. Blending eyewitness reportage with rich historical insight, French searches deeply into the causes of today’s events, illuminating the debilitating legacy of colonization and the abiding hypocrisy and inhumanity of both Western and African political leaders.
While he captures the tragedies that have repeatedly befallen Africa’s peoples, French also opens our eyes to the immense possibility that lies in Africa’s complexity, diversity, and myriad cultural strengths. The culmination of twenty-five years of passionate exploration and understanding, this is a powerful and ultimately hopeful book about a fascinating and misunderstood continent.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House, Inc.|
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A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa
I remember clearly, even now, how and when Africa grabbed hold of me, and as is so often the case for people living abroad, my infatuation began with a romance. The lightning struck me in January 1980, in a small, smoke-filled nightclub called the Keur Samba, in Treichville, the densely packed working-class neighborhood and old colonial "indigenous quarter" of the capital of Ivory Coast, Abidjan.
The dance floor was tiny, and as I would quickly learn was commonplace in Africa, when people were moved to dance, they simply jumped up without any other formalities and joined the crowd. The club's African play list was heavy on fast numbers with thumping bass lines, and it did not take long to get swept up in the atmosphere amid all the bumping and swaying. For someone new to the country who had come alone, the discovery that partners were irrelevant was a pleasant surprise.
My father, who is a doctor, had designed and was running a regional primary healthcare program for the World Health Organization, and my parents had been living in Abidjan together with my brothers and sisters for a few years. I had just moved to Ivory Coast after graduating from college to find myself while plotting my next moves in life, and for a young American out on the town by himself, the packed nightclub with its throbbing African sounds and colliding bodies seemed like the very definition of exotic. And then I met Mariam.
With the strobe lights flashing wildly and the club jam-packed, it took me longer than it should have to notice that no matter in which direction I turned I was still bumping into the same lithe, dark-skinned woman. But when a fif