Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles

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Granta Publications, Jan 2, 2014 - Literary Collections - 448 pages

A revised and updated edition of the landmark book about the miraculous continent by the finest living Africa correspondent.

Every time you try to say 'Africa is...' the words crumble and break. From every generalisation you must exclude at least five countries. And just as you think you've nailed down a certainty, you find the opposite is also true. Africa is full of surprises.

For the past three decades, Richard Dowden has travelled this vast and varied continent, listening, learning, and constantly re-evaluating all he thinks he knows. Country by country, he has sought out the local and the personal, the incidents, actions, and characters to tell a story of modern sub-Saharan Africa - an area affected by poverty, disease and war, but also a place of breathtaking beauty, generosity and possibility. The result is a landmark book, compelling, illuminating, and always surprising.

This revised edition has an additional chapter on Ethiopia and has been updated throughout to reflect changes such as the death of Mandela and the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. It also includes two new maps and a new final chapter considering the shape of Africa's future.

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User Review  - danoomistmatiste - LibraryThing

One of the better books on Africa. Very well researched and written with profiles of countries and rulers of a selected few countries starting from the period of their independence from their colonial ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mnicol - LibraryThing

A readable book, with interesting analogies and insights, some imaginary Afrikaans spelling and the odd dodgy generalisation. A very upbeat intro and epilogue sandwich some of the most depressing ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

Richard Dowden was Executive Director of the Royal African Society from 2002 to 2017. He first went to Africa as a teacher in 1971, and then as a journalist in 1983, working for The Times. In 1986, he became Africa Editor of the Independent, and then in 1995 took up the post of Africa Editor of the Economist. He has also made three television documentaries on Africa, for the BBC and Channel 4.

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