The State of Africa
A history of 50 years of independence
By Martin Meredith
[pounds sterling]20 Free Press
This book is a sweeping history of post-colonial Africa, exploring the continent's troubled trajectory from the optimism of the independence era to the seemingly intractable problems it faces today. The fortunes of Africa have, Meredith writes, changed dramatically in the 50 years since the independence era began. As Europe's colonial powers with-drew, dozens of new states were launched amid much jubilation and to the world's applause. African leaders stepped forward with energy and enthusiasm to tackle the problems of development and nation-building.
Those African leaders boldly proclaimed their hopes of establishing new societies that might offer inspiration to the world at large. The circumstances seemed auspicious.
Independence came in the midst of an economic boom. On the world stage African states excited the attention of the world's rival power blocs; in the Cold War era, the position that each newly independent state adopted in relations with...