Can anyone suggest a good book to read on contemporary Africa?

ForumCategory: BooksCan anyone suggest a good book to read on contemporary Africa?
Gayatri Srivastava Staff asked 3 years ago

1 Answers
Kim answered 2 years ago

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond, is a good place to start to understand the complicated relationship between Africa and the rest of the World.
While Africa may seem like one continent, there are so may differences with each country, I would recommend focusing on one country at a time. Some of the books that I have read & enjoyed are:
Chasing the Devil – On foot through Africa’s killing fields – Tim Butcher – Liberia & Sierra Leone
Walking the Nile by Levison Wood – the documentary series is more compelling than the book – because of the on-the-ground visuals
Born a Crime – Trevor Noah – South Africa
Diamonds, Gold and War: The Making of South Africa – Martin Meredith
Naguib Mahfouz for pre revolution Egypt – fiction that brings Contemporary Egypt to life
Teju Cole – Every Day Is for the Thief – Nigeria
Lure of the Honey Bird, The : The Storytellers of Ethiopia – Elizabeth Laird
In Search of King Solomon’s Mines – Tahir Shah – Ethiopia
Ethiopia through Writers Eyes – Short essays by multiple authors
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – most of her books are set in Nigeria
Personally, having lived in Egypt & South Africa and traveled a lot of Africa, I tend to read a mix of guide books, non-fiction and fiction to get a feel of the country. The Insight Guides and Culture Smart Guides are great starting points, but often written from the point of view of an outsider looking in. To get a more local view, I prefer reading fiction by local writers which are much more insightful
Do let me know if you have a particular country in mind, I may be able to suggest more recommendations

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