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Big Men, Little People: The Leaders Who Defined Africa
     

Big Men, Little People: The Leaders Who Defined Africa

by Alec Russell
 

The Sixties were a heady time for Africans. All over the continent colonial flags were being lowered and Africans looked forward to freedom and a glittering future. But for most of the continent the last forty years have been a shattering experience. Since independence Africans have been terribly betrayed by the Europeans, the superpowers, and tragically, by their

Overview

The Sixties were a heady time for Africans. All over the continent colonial flags were being lowered and Africans looked forward to freedom and a glittering future. But for most of the continent the last forty years have been a shattering experience. Since independence Africans have been terribly betrayed by the Europeans, the superpowers, and tragically, by their own leaders.

Can a new generation of leaders turn the tide? Will they learn from their predecessors' mistakes and fuel a new African renaissance? Or is Africa doomed to further decades of turmoil? We

In this witty and informative book, Alec Russell answers these questions by telling the stories of his encounters with Africa's Big Men. Each one represents a theme which has shaped the continent: Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, the "King of Kleptocracy" whose staggering corruption crippled Zaire; Jonas Savimbi, the life-long guerrilla and symbol of the Cold War's destructive legacy on the continent; the quixotic Hastings Banda, the ultimate product of colonialism; and, of course, Nelson Mandela, symbol of reconciliation and hope for an entire continent.

By any measure, this has been a terrible century for Africa. However Russell detects signs of hope in the fledgling human rights troupe he encounters deep in the steamy heart of the Congolese jungle and in the group of journalists keeping Moi's tottering regime in Kenya on its toes.

Big Men, Little People is a vividly written portrait of a continent, which avoids the usual stereotypes and dire prophecies and entertains from start to finish.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A thematic look at the current political, social, and economic conditions of Africa through examination of its leaders. From Mobutu Sese Seko, the "King of Kleptocracy," to F.W. De Klerk, "The last white patriarch," the author presents profiles of the rulers of the continent based on his personal encounters with them. He explains how these "big men" have influenced Africa and what their leadership might mean for the future, concluding that while it is premature to speak of a current "African Renaissance," there is still hope to be found in the dreams of the people. Written for a general audience. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814775424
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2000
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Alec Russell is the associate foreign editor of the Daily Telegraph. He was previously its Southern African correspondent, based in Johannesburg, and a stringer reporting on the Bosnian conflict.

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