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As a young college graduate, Sandgren taught in a rural Kenyan school for boys from 1963 to 1967 before returning to the United States for graduate school and a career in academia. Sandgren returned to Kenya in 1995 and interviewed 75 of the 90 or so students he had taught three decades earlier. This book is the fascinating result.
In this political history of Africa since the 1950s, Young reviews the political science literature on such important issues as the legacy of colonialism, the reasons why African states turned autocratic soon after independence, and the best ways to assess their performance since then. Unlike similar books, Young’s considers the areas north and south of the Sahara, focusing on the political and diplomatic links between the two, as well as their common history.
Jerven demonstrates with devastating clarity that African governments produce imprecise economic statistics that should not be trusted.
Policymakers and students of African political economy have long wondered why more African governments have not done a better job of promoting investment by the private sector and what factors differentiate the minority of countries that have enjoyed good relations with business. Both of these books shed light on this question by emphasizing political processes rather than ideology or economic policy.
Conventional wisdom holds that the African wars of the twenty-first century will be fought over resources, especially water. These two very different books inform readers about the political implications of water -- and of its absence. Jacobs’ book focuses on the international cooperation that has developed around the management of two major river systems in Africa, the Nile River basin and the Orange River basin. In contrast, Munemo’s book on drought relief reminds one that for much of Africa’s recent history, domestic politics have often been more conflict-prone than relations between countries.
How does the son of farmers from Benin become a professor of political science at Princeton University? A natural aptitude for mathematics, fostered by Benin’s surprisingly good rural primary schools, obviously helped Wantchékon. Wantchékon captures well the disillusionment of a generation of his compatriots as the promise of independence was overwhelmed by economic crisis and political repression. After being arrested, tortured, and imprisoned in northern Benin, Wantchékon managed to escape to Nigeria, then immigrated as a political refugee to Canada, where he discovered economics and began his ascent in North American academia. Disarmingly candid and generous to friend and foe alike, this book will leave readers with a smile.
Annan devotes much of his memoir to the problems of international peacekeeping, which were central to his career, first as assistant secretary-general of the United Nations for peacekeeping operations, from 1993 to 1994, and later as UN secretary-general, from 1997 to 2006. In recounting some of the major conflicts of the recent past, his book provides a sensible, often humane defense of the critical importance of multilateral diplomacy.
The remarkably prolific Ellis has written a fascinating history of the internal politics of the African National Congress (ANC) in the 30 years during which it was banned in South Africa and was forced to operate from bases outside the country. Ellis’ research suggests that the South African Communist Party enjoyed a higher degree of influence on the ANC's decision-making than has been acknowledged by the ANC's leadership.
These two collections assess the prospects for positive change in sub-Saharan Africa. Crawford and Lynch survey the region’s political progress and generally find it wanting. Lust and Ndegwa’s book is considerably more optimistic.
Foster emphasizes the differences between an older generation of black elites steeped in the discipline of the struggle against apartheid and a younger generation that views South Africa in more cosmopolitan terms and is less interested in politics than in pop music and designer clothes.
Lomborg believes that better policies can come only from dispassionate cost-benefit analysis—which is just what his organization, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, claims to produce. In this book, he tackles the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa.
In March 1896, the Ethiopian army, led by Emperor Menelik II, decisively defeated the Italian army near the town of Adwa, in northern Ethiopia, just south of today’s Eritrean border. Jonas tells the story well, aided by the presence of colorful characters, such as Menelik’s fiery wife, Empress Taytu, and the Italian officers whose bumbling ensured their own defeat.
Among the many recent books on Sudan’s enormous and persistent potential for violent conflict, these two deserve special notice. Natsios provides a clear and dispassionate general introduction to the country’s history and politics, designed for the lay reader. LeRiche and Arnold, in the first comprehensive analysis of the world’s youngest state, explore the role that government policies played in leading to the birth of South Sudan.
The increased Chinese attention to Africa has been one of the region’s big stories during the last decade, not least because it seemed to come just as the West was losing interest in the continent. Shinn and Eisenman’s book usefully situates this development in a broad historical context, showing important areas of continuity with earlier Sino-African links.
When Ghanaian President John Atta Mills died suddenly in July, his vice president, Mahama, succeeded him. In this affecting and revealing memoir, Mahama crafts an evocative portrait of Ghana’s privileged classes in the 1960s and 1970s. Ghanaian readers might see this memoir by a current officeholder as a political instrument; others will mainly enjoy the well-crafted anecdotes and images of an Africa that no longer exists.
Jagielski's semifictional account of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army paints a bleak picture of northern Uganda, where Kony’s rebellion has scarred the population and corroded the Ugandan army and state.
McVety explores the intellectual roots of foreign aid in this history of the relationship between Ethiopia and the United States.
Beginning with the observation that the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was made with uranium from a mine in what was then the Belgian Congo, Hecht explores the role of Africa in the development of military and civilian nuclear energy since World War II.
The negative side effects of oil wealth in sub-Saharan Africa are well known. But Yates’ book fills in some gaps in the story with insightful details.
Equipped with an impressive command of the different struggles that have ravaged the region, Williams has written a superb overview of this complex subject without resorting to academic jargon. It deserves to be read by novices and specialists alike.
Adebajo pleads for more support from Western powers for multilateral peacekeeping operations and advocates a larger peacekeeping role for regional organizations such as the African Union.
These two books deserve to be read by anyone interested in Africa's HIV/AIDS crisis.
This book delivers a lively introduction to contemporary sub-Saharan Africa, surveying current trends in the region, including the recent emergence of a number of dynamic economies, the high costs of endemic corruption, the stubborn persistence of civil war, and the destabilizing potential of elections in fledgling democracies.
Waugh has written a splendid biography of one of the most fascinating figures in recent African history.
This remarkable collection of essays by members of the South African security establishment has the objective of legitimating anew their expertise in counterinsurgency, in order to draw lessons for the contemporary mission of the South African army.
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