Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa

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Overview

In “the most honest book to emerge from Africa in a long time” (USA Today), a black american correspondent for the Washington Post reports on the horrors he witnessed in Somalia, Rwanda, South Africa, and other troubled African nations-and reflects on his own identity. Map; updated with a new afterword.

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Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa

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Overview

In “the most honest book to emerge from Africa in a long time” (USA Today), a black american correspondent for the Washington Post reports on the horrors he witnessed in Somalia, Rwanda, South Africa, and other troubled African nations-and reflects on his own identity. Map; updated with a new afterword.

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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
Striking in both its honesty and horror...A gripping memoir. Out of America is a passionate reminder to a multiethnic democracy that human dignity, not banal notions of cultural identity, is the source of enduring civic and personal esteem.
USA Today
This may well be the most important book to come out of Africa since Isak Denisen's classic Out of Africa, published 60 years earlier...the most honest book to emerge from Africa in a long time.
Newsweek
A brave work that is not afraid to go against the grain....An important and original book.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Richburg spent three years 1991-1994 covering Africa for the Washington Post, and his tour of crisis zones like Somalia, Rwanda and Liberia left him disgusted and disheartened by the carnage, corruption and ungovernability that he observed. Moreover, faced with his self-identity as a black man- "there but for the grace of God go I"-and what he sees as black Americans' unthinking invocation of Africa, the jaded author concludes with an embrace of his essentially American identity. Indeed, his pungent narrative shoves African violence in our faces, while his encounters with African locals are inevitably distanced by culture and class. He takes a crusading journalist's pleasure in cross-examining visiting American black luminaries who excuse Africa's lack of democracy. Among evasionists, he finds one straight talker, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, who, after citing the usual litany of explanations colonialism, etc., which Richburg deems excuses, for African failures, criticizes his own people's lack of discipline. Richburg in turn applies that analysis to the problems plaguing black Africa. The author's harsh words, backed by experience, should stir controversy. But his report is too thin. His conclusions might have been tempered by reports that some black groups like TransAfrica have recently pressured Nigeria on human rights, and the no-longer-hopeful author doesn't acknowledge how the West might use aid to leverage political change. Richburg's crisis-based experience also ignores some other stories about the ambiguous black American African encounter, such as those told in Eddy Harris's Native Stranger. First serial to U.S. News & World Report. Mar.
Newsweek
A brave work that is not afraid to go against the grain....An important and original book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156005838
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Series: Harvest Book Series
  • Edition description: ReprintTand Update with a New Afeterword
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2002

    Very honest

    Having lived in Africa for six years, I regonised many examples that Mr Richburg wrote about. But only a black American can write these experiences and published the book. As being white, I would be classified as a racist. Which is not true but many situations in Africa are very allien to someone who grew up in Europe or in the USA. Having been in situations that left me gobsmack, it was a relieve to read this honest book and often I was shaking my head with agreement or laughing as the same things happened to me. Also Mr Keithburg's reflection about being black in the USA and now being scared as a black man in Africa is something that I also noticed in Africa with black Americans. I recommend this book as a relieve to other books that are not always telling the truth.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    Terrific Book.

    You have never seen Africa like this before! Very well written. I will be reading this one again. So glad I have it on my Nook. I will be "sharing" it with a friend who has also traveled to Africa.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Eye opening insight into the tragedy that is Africa

    In a milieu of romanticizing Africa for political and social advantage, the author's stark honesty replaces myth with truth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    A fabulous read

    Being a journalist, Keith Richburg is able to vividly convey the plight of the Tustsi people in Africa. Well crafted - couldn't put it down. Every black person in America should read it and get over feeling victimized 'which they were - but, it turns out, to a greater future'in the early days of this country. I would wish for them the sensitivity to forgive us those long-ago sins, and rejoice in the fact that their forfathers bore the pain that ensured them a life anywhere but in Africa. The didn't suffer alone. Written in stone at the Alamo is the saying: 'Texas is heaven for men and dogs, but hell for women and oxen.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2003

    Honest but lacking insight

    Out of America does a good job of conveying the authors sentiments and thoughts about the African continent, and to some extent, her peoples. What it does not do is offer insight into how US and Western meddling have caused the continent much turmoil and lost years, starting even before the advent of slave raids on the continent. It is a great memoir, but nothing more. It stops far short of a true, honest, probing and reflective journalistic effort.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2002

    the title says it alll

    Keith Richburg's book takes you right to Africa where you are right with him as he travels the continent. It's a very good book as a memoir but if you are looking for background information, or new insights on Africa- this book does not deliver. It has no serious analysis of either the black problem (either African or African American). I give the writing a 3.5 but the content rates a one as the book would have been great with just a little bit more analysis While reading Mr. Richburg,the book had the feel of a story teller's tale- and had revealing moments when I recognised Mr. Richburg's rage at fellow black people and ex-colonialists etc. Mr. Richburg's title doesn't dissemble- it's about how he confronts Africa- buy it for a good general read, but if seeking to learn about Africa, you're probably better off with another book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2001

    And What About America?: A Concerned Student of History Confronts The United States

    Out of America's thesis ignores the fact that the United States is partially responsible for causing the political, economic, and social turmoil in Africa that gave birth to the author's brutal critique of the continent. For this reason, it is difficult to judge the author as a credible source, since a summary review of the United States' involvement in Africa severely challenges his view of America as the world's greatest democracy and his uncritical gratitude for being the descendant of an African who was enslaved in America. However, the book is valuable in articulating the negative sentiments that many Africans in America unfortunately hold for the 'Dark Continent.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2000

    In Agreement...

    I too am an African-American living in Africa. Sadly, I must concur with Mr. Richburg's observations, particuarly in Nairobi, Kenya. The experiences described by the author in that part of Africa mirrored my own almost identically. The book is a validation of my own feelings and observations which were quite often disbelieved or misinterpreted by people at home. The book's real message is that African-Americans should embrace the unique opportunity they have to live in the world's freest democracy. If Black Americans could only see the sacrifices Africans are willing to make to be in their position, they would (and should) embrace their American citizenship with unprecedented pride and determination to make it a more perfect union.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2000

    ASTONISHING PIECE OF LITERARY HONESTY

    I was astonished at this honest and beautifully written book. Although no excuses can be made for the ultimate evil of slavery, it shows that history can right itself in that millions of blacks are now living in a country where there is opportunity rather than wholesale slaughter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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