Designing West Africa / Edition 1

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Many African countries are now described as "Fourth World nations," ones which essentially have no future. How could this have happened? Through the scope of the 1960s, 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—Sékou Touré, Kwame Nkrumah, and others—Schwab shows how Africa served as a grounds to play out larger international conflicts, namely the Cold War. He does not fall back solely on blaming non-African involvement for the failure to build a viable leadership for the continent; rather, he critiques the African leaders themselves for their individual failings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Africa: A Continent Self-Destructs:

"For anyone interested in the reality of Africa, this is the book to read."—Amos Sawyer, President of Liberia, 1990-1994

"Offers brief, invaluable descriptions of several countries’ circumstances...readers will gain much from this astute analysis."—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403965493
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/7/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.79 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Schwab is Professor of Political Science at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author most recently of Africa: A Continent Self-Destructs (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: 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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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2004

    An Excellent Introduction

    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.

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