Africa: A Biography of the Continent

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Vintage Books, 1999 - History - 801 pages
"Awe-inspiring . . . a masterly synthesis."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Deeply penetrating, intensely thought-provoking and thoroughly informed . . . one of the most important general surveys of Africa that has been produced in the last decade." --The Washington Post

In 1978, paleontologists in East Africa discovered the earliest evidence of our divergence from the apes: three pre-human footprints, striding away from a volcano, were preserved in the petrified surface of a mudpan over three million years ago. Out of Africa, the world's most ancient and stable landmass, Homo sapiens dispersed across the globe. And yet the continent that gave birth to human history has long been woefully misunderstood and mistreated by the rest of the world.

In a book as splendid in its wealth of information as it is breathtaking in scope, British writer and photojournalist John Reader brings to light Africa's geology and evolution, the majestic array of its landforms and environments, the rich diversity of its peoples and their ways of life, the devastating legacies of slavery and colonialism as well as recent political troubles and triumphs. Written in simple, elegant prose and illustrated with Reader's own photographs, Africa: A Biography of the Continent is an unforgettable book that will delight the general reader and expert alike.

"Breathtaking in its scope and detail." --San Francisco Chronicle

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cwhouston - LibraryThing

I found this book rather heavy going, but that is partly because a lot of the more distant history stuff is of little interest to me. I did, however, also find the writing style a little dull. To be ... Read full review

AFRICA: A Biography of the Continent

User Review  - Kirkus

A grand attempt to illuminate the history of the "dark continent," using an almost stunning blend of disciplines from geology to anthropology to agronomy. Despite the breadth of the title, Reader ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
3
THE FOUNDING FACTORS
7
Building a Continent
9
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

John Reader is a writer and photojournalist. Born in London in 1937, he lived and traveled in Africa for many years. He currently holds an Honorary Research Fellowship in the Department of Anthropology at University College London.

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