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The Betrayal of Africa Paperback – Mar 1 2008

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (March 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0888998252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888998255
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #305,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

...a small book for such a large continent with such huges issues, but this is no superficial primer for neophyte travellers and liberal do-gooders...Caplan and his publishers have produced a book that is popularly written in style, designed with tables and maps that illustrate superbly the basic concept that history does count...The Betrayal of Africa nicely explodes stereotypes that are still used today to justify economic and political exploitation... (Hugh McCullum AfricaFiles 2008-09-08)

...this title offers a concise, exploratory look...Caplan isn't afraid to delve into complexities, get personal and opinionated, and assign blame...His writing is well sourced and largely effective...This is ideal for classroom use... (Booklist 2008-04-01)

A must read for students, scholars, educators and anyone else who cares about the human family, our interconnectedness and our interdependence. Gerry Caplan cuts through the myths, stereotypes, and platitudes to give both a thoughtful and thought provoking look at Africa, its history, its many peoples, and its role, often as pawn, in world politics. His book details the interference, the indifference, and the utter contempt, often under the guise of 'doing good', that has defined how the world continues to betray Africa. (Barbara Coloroso 2008-04-01)

Gerry Caplan has written a compelling, comprehensive and swift-moving guide to the politics and challenges of modern Africa...fascinating... (Stephanie Nolen 2008-04-01)

The Betrayal of Africa presents a concise but comprehensive overview of its subject...Gerald Caplan is passionate about his subject and is highly convincing in advancing his argument...an excellent supplemental resource. Clearly drawn line maps, charts of statistical content, timelines of dates and events, and short reports on such topics as AIDS in Africa and the Rwandan Genocide all add to the book's value and provide readily-accessible content to student readers. Yet another valuable addition to the 'Groundwood Guides' series. Highly recommended. (CM Magazine 2008-04-01)

This is a riveting panorama of African history and experience, the best of analytic and polemical writing. The arguments are unanswerable, the depth of feeling unmistakable. Gerry Caplan knows his subject as few others do; he illumines the contours and contradictions of Africa with immense skill. He encapsules superbly, in a short book, the cascading tragedies of the continent. It's a splendid piece of work and a great read. (Stephen Lewis 2008-04-01)

...packed with incisive, eye-opening information. (CCPA Monitor 2008-09-08)

The little paperback books in this series cover an unexpected amount of material and provide and in-depth overview of the subjects related to contemporary political and social issues. The writing style is easy to comprehend, and the knowledge gained by the reader in a short time is surprising. (Multicultural Review 2008-09-08)

Book Description

"This is a riveting panorama of African history and experience, the best of analytic and polemical writing. The arguments are unanswerable, the depth of feeling unmistakable. Gerry Caplan knows his subject as few others do; he illumines the contours and contradictions of Africa with immense skill. He encapsules superbly, in a short book, the cascading tragedies of the continent. It's a splendid piece of work and a great read." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Another book about "Africa" you may ask, and one of only 128 small pages? What can anybody say on such confined space about the continent of 53 states and at least 2000 languages and a multitude of cultures? Caplan, with more than 40 years of active involvement with Africa and a "passionate commitment" to the continent's development, will surprise you in all regards. His analysis, presented in clear and succinct language in well structured chapters, is informative, erudite without getting caught in details. In all regards this is a very worthwhile read and a useful book to have on the shelf for further reference.

The "Betrayal of Africa" is published as a Groundwork Guide, a series intended to "provide an overview of key contemporary political and social issues… these books tackle pressing and sometimes controversial topics, offering both a lively introduction to the subject and a strong point of view." Caplan expertly lives up to the series' intentions. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the continent's concerns, he presents a well reasoned analysis of the continuing challenges for the peoples of Africa.

Discussing the "common predicament[s]" of this most diverse of continents, the author briefly outlines the historical context, characterized by colonialism and its lingering aftermath, its vulnerability to severe climatic variabilities, wide-spread poverty, and, last but not least, the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Hand in hand with the exploitation of European masters went corruption and exploitation by local political and economic strongmen.

The newly independent states were left without adequate infrastructures, professional sectors or functioning education systems.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book has a very one sided viewpoint - and mostly from a liberal viewpoint. The statistics quoted are questionable and more (general) resources should have been consulted. The writer further does not like Mining companies...period. This book is also outdated in terms of the desired outcomes mentioned in the end. For a better understanding on the "Scramble for Africa", I highly recommend the excellent book of the same title by Thomas Pakenham - which was not referenced in this 'guide'.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very nice
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0c0a408) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0812ad4) out of 5 stars Complexity made comprehensible June 2 2008
By Friederike Knabe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Another book about "Africa" you may ask, and one of only 128 small pages? What can anybody say on such confined space about the continent of 53 states and at least 2000 languages and a multitude of cultures? Caplan, with more than 40 years of active involvement with Africa and a "passionate commitment" to the continent's development, will surprise you in all regards. His analysis, presented in clear and succinct language in well structured chapters, is informative, erudite without getting caught in details. In all regards this is a very worthwhile read and a useful book to have on the shelf for further reference.

The "Betrayal of Africa" is published as a Groundwork Guide, a series intended to "provide an overview of key contemporary political and social issues... these books tackle pressing and sometimes controversial topics, offering both a lively introduction to the subject and a strong point of view." Caplan expertly lives up to the series' intentions. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the continent's concerns, he presents a well reasoned analysis of the continuing challenges for the peoples of Africa.

Discussing the "common predicament[s]" of this most diverse of continents, the author briefly outlines the historical context, characterized by colonialism and its lingering aftermath, its vulnerability to severe climatic variabilities, wide-spread poverty, and, last but not least, the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Hand in hand with the exploitation of European masters went corruption and exploitation by local political and economic strongmen.

The newly independent states were left without adequate infrastructures, professional sectors or functioning education systems. These developments continued combined, later on, with often misguided or misappropriated international aid and investment funds. Caplan contends that these represent major obstacles to development and economic growth for the vast majority of Africans. Caplan reminds the reader that "far more of Africa's riches flow out to the West than are ploughed back in?". He provides examples and some statistics that are revealing in this regard. In the brief chapter on the recent engagement of China in Africa the author highlights some of the concerns of the Chinese approach and wonders if the Chinese investments will really contribute to economic advancements of Africans.

Caplan concludes with a brief reflection on the future for Africa as he sees it. He places hope in the people themselves. Local communities and civil society organizations have been sidelined for too long both by governments and the international institutions, such as the World Bank. Yet, their active participation in shaping the democratic and economic future of African countries is one of the preconditions for giving Africa a serious chance in the global economic market. On the other hand, he warns against a simple application of the slogan "African solutions for African Problems". Africa will continue to be closely intertwined with the West and the rest of the world. Still, a new generation of African leaders is emerging, already influencing the way these partnership relationships result in positive change. Yet, his recommendations for the future remain somewhat diffuse. The Africa Timelines, the notes, the index and additional references are useful additions to round of this book as a good resource. [Friederike Knabe]
HASH(0xa0812bf4) out of 5 stars After receiving it today, this book is in my trash can April 1 2015
By Kasabez Maakmaah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is short and the bulk of it is the author's opinions and there are not many facts (outside of some statistics) and maybe not even one detailed historical account. Reading the back cover, it states, "There is a widespread assumption that Africa is the problem and that we in the rich world are the solution." Unfortunately, this seems to be the view of the author as little is mentioned of the African's ability to self-govern as has been done for countless millenia before colonial interference. Instead, the book imposes the status quo view of the modern world that foreign aid for modernization and development would benefit the continent if it weren't for the corruption of the African leaders who are really henchmen of European and US governments. This view ignores 2 major facts. 1. The aid would not be possible if not for the plundering of African resources over the last 500 years at least. 2. The only purpose of European, American and Chinese investment and aid is to continue this legacy of plundering.
I could have gotten past the narrowmindedness of the author if he had had at least presented more objective historical information.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1b5a528) out of 5 stars Concise and Excellent Explanation for Africa's Present State May 29 2011
By T. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a book that does an excellent job at explaining why countries in Africa face the challenges that they do. The cover is really reflective of the books overall argument, i.e that both the West and Africans (particularly the "big men" - often dictators) are responsible. The book nicely examines the historical exploitation of Africa and highlights some of the present-day exploitation that is still ongoing. This is an excellent book to use as an introduction to African studies/history/politics as it gives a very good background, while also challenging some misconceptions about the continent. I'm an African history professor and this is a book I assign to my students at the beginning of my African history class. It's easy reading, clear, concise and enjoyable too. Highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know anything about Africa.
3 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa106827c) out of 5 stars Everything is wrong? June 5 2008
By Marcin Czajkowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I ve just finished reading this book and I am really dissapointed. The author seems to appreciate only one side of the story and is soo negative in his assesmnet that it phisicaly hurts!!!

Caplan also contradicts himself every second page. West is guilty of giving credis. West is guilty of not giving enough credits. West is guilty of interveening. West is guilty of not interveening. Chinese presence is great. Chinese presence is terrible. NGO's are great for Africa. NGO's are terrible. And so on...

Also as an academic he should stick to facts instead of feeding readers with his: "no data but surely", "hard to say but certinly" and so on.

After reading this book you can seriously loose all hope for Africa. If you beleive that solution is not FDI, international help, and liberalism then what is???


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