In This Review

Africa: Dispatches From A Fragile Continent
Africa: Dispatches From A Fragile Continent
By Blaine Harden
Norton, 1990, 333 pp

Blaine Harden, who reported from Africa for The Washington Post from 1985-89, has produced a trenchant and informative compilation of the bad news and the good news, and has presented it with a wit that is sardonic but never cynical. Smugglers, intellectuals, famine victims, venal Big Men, misguided aid donors-all parade through this account of "the world's messiest experiment in cultural and political change." Nigeria's recurring efforts to democratize and improve government performance are seen as evidence that, at least in some parts of the continent, Africans have begun to reverse their downward postindependence course.