Designing West Africa: Prelude to 21st Century Calamity / Edition 1by P. Schwab
Pub. Date: 05/07/2004
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan US
Many African nations are now described as 'fourth world nations', ones which essentially have no future. How could this have happened? Through the scope of the 1960's, the first decade of African independence, Peter Schwab presents a compelling and provocative answer to this question. Designing West Africa tells the story of a pivotal decade in African history, when the fate of the continent was decided. Focusing on the six most visible leaders of the period - painting detailed portraits of them both as leaders and as people - Schwab looks at how Africa served as a ground to play out larger international conflicts, namely the Cold War. He does not fall back on blaming non-African involvement for the failure to build a visible leadership for the continent; rather he critiques the African leaders themselves for their individual failings.
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Table of ContentsIntroduction: U.S., European, and West African Ideological Designs The Conservatives William V.S. Tubman: Liberia's Conservative Designer Félix Houphouët-Boigny: A French Client in the Ivory Coast Senegal and Léopold Sédar Senghor: Francophile Nation and Poet Nigeria: The State that Lost its Future The Radicals Kwame Nkrumah: Ghana's Nationalist Icon Sékou Touré: Guinea's Fidel Castro, and His Connection to the Political Thought of Mali's Modibo Keita Conclusion: The Appalling Aftermath
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Professor Schwab has long provided us with sound analysis of African politics. While many have begged to differ with his conclusions, all have been charmed by his pithy prose as well as impressed by his solid scholarship and evident love for Africa and her peoples. The present book follows in the worthy footsteps of its predecessor, AFRICA: A CONTINENT SELF-DESTRUCTS, by shining light on a the formative post-colonial period of the 1960s - a time little known in America - and presenting a 'fair and balanced' assessment of the six most significant West African political figures of the period - William V.S. Tubman (Liberia), Felix Houphouet-Boigny (Cote d'Ivoire), Leopold Sedar Senghor (Senegal), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (Nigeria), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), and Sekou Toure (Guinea) - and their influence, for good and for ill, on subsequent history in the subregion. While rightly criticizing the great powers for their Cold War-era conduct, Professor Schwab also courageously critiques the African leaders themselves for their sins of omission and commission. This book is an excellent introduction to contemporary West African political history.