Journalist Blaine Harden reveals the darker, unsightly picture of Africa which is beginning to emerge in the media. Each of the eight chapters focuses on a single country and a single story, using examples and anecdotes to give context and comprehensibility to problems usually clouded by sociological jargon. He has two principal themes: the battle between modernity, with its double-edged benefits, and the tribal way of life; and the way that Western governments seek to appease their sense of duty, or salve their imperial consciences by providing "aid" which in fact often makes problems worse than they were before. Harden was once thrown out of Kenya for his attack on the corruption endemic even in that romanticized country. This book is controversial, and provokes thought about where Africa is going and what it is becoming.
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From 1985 to 1989, Blaine Harden was bureau chief for the Washington Post in sub-Saharan Africa. Born in the state of Washington, he received his masters degree in newspaper journalism from Syracuse University. He won the Livingston Award for feature writing in 1987.From Publishers Weekly:
After 30 years of independence, Africa relies on foreign aid that is based more on Western computations than on the domestic needs of countries that lack national identities. Only in Botswana does democracy work; elsewhere, the "Big Man Disease" prevails, notes the author. Focusing on individuals but combining travel, history, politics, economics and generalities of African society, Washington Post correspondent Harden explores the indigenous systems that help hold "the whole sorry mess" together. He shows how Liberian Samuel Doe's talk about democracy attracted American aid dollars, which he used to shore up the vacillating support of his countrymen. Harden's experiences on a Congo river boat suggest that Zaire is pervaded by the attitude of its president, who has "made his billions the old-fashioned way. He stole it." The account of a trial in Nairobi to determine where to bury a Luo lawyer is an allegory for the most wrenching conflict of modern African life: the rub between tribal tradition and modern Western values. For those who don't know Africa, this outstanding book is a good place to start. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 2158892
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002158892