Roland Oliver's second edition of this useful book offers good chapters on Africa in the 1990s and an essay about its future as well as and excellent overview of African history. Oliver is expert and thurough. The book is well organized and on the whole interesting. However, because it is an overview the book picks up subjects and drops them in a page or two often after offering just enough to generate genuine interest. This is of course to be expected, but would be more forgivable if the author had included a list of books to read for more information on specific subjects or a bibliographic essay. More troubling is Oliver's tendency to apologize too much for the colonial powers that divided and subjugated Africa. Still, the book is valuable and lives up to its billing.