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Download Africa: A Biography of the Continent eBook

by John Reader

Download Africa: A Biography of the Continent eBook
ISBN:
0241130476
Author:
John Reader
Language:
English
Publisher:
London : Hamish Hamilton; First Edition edition (1997)
EPUB book:
1929 kb
FB2 book:
1756 kb
DJVU:
1107 kb
Other formats
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Rating:
4.5
Votes:
696


Africa: A Biography of t. .has been added to your Cart. This is one the most informative books ever written about Africa.

Africa: A Biography of t. Part of it is the fact that, believe it or not, there was a much greater supply of nutritious foodstuffs in Asia and Europe than in Africa, were they were generally limited to millet.

Written in simple, elegant prose and illustrated with Reader's own photographs, Africa: A Biography of the Continent is an unforgettable book that will delight the general reader and expert alike.

a masterly synthesis. Written in simple, elegant prose and illustrated with Reader's own photographs, Africa: A Biography of the Continent is an unforgettable book that will delight the general reader and expert alike. Breathtaking in its scope and detail. -San Francisco Chronicle.

Drawing on many years of African experience, John Reader has written a book of startling grandeur and scope that recreates the great panorama of African history, from the primeval cataclysms that formed the continent to the political upheavals facing much of the continent today. Reader tells the extraordinary story of humankind's adaptation to the ferocious obstacles of forest, river and desert, and to the threat of debilitating parasites, bacteria and viruses unmatched elsewhere in the world.

Africa is big. Enormous, really I mention these facts not because I learnt them from John Reader’s masterful history of the continent, but so that they may motivate you, as they did me, to learn more about. Enormous, really. I mention these facts not because I learnt them from John Reader’s masterful history of the continent, but so that they may motivate you, as they did me, to learn more about this utterly under-appreciated part of our world. You may of course be far less ignorant than I am about Africa - but I am certain you will still find this a worthwhile read. Reader’s book is audacious in its scope, spanning geology, ecology, archeology, and history.

As a biography of the continent, this book presents Africa as a dynamic and exceptionally fecund entity, where the evolution of humanity is merely one of many developmental trajectories that are uniquely evident there. The narrative follows the development of the continent from its earliest manifestation to the present; it identifies the physical processes which have determined the course of the developmental progressions and, where relevant, defines the ecological context in which they occurred.

The ancestors of all humanity evolved in Africa, notes photojournalist John Reader at the beginning of this epic, panoramic overview of African . Africa, a Biography for Everyone. com User, February 20, 2000

Africa, a Biography for Everyone. com User, February 20, 2000. Considering the magnitude of his undertaking, Mr Reader did a superb job of covering his subject in nearly every aspect possible. Almost anyone with an interest in geology, geography, anthropology, ancient and recent history, political science or ethnography will find this book of interest in some aspect.

A history of Africa, following the development of the continent from its earliest manifestations to the late twentieth century; identifying the physical processes which have determined the .

A history of Africa, following the development of the continent from its earliest manifestations to the late twentieth century; identifying the physical processes which have determined the course of progress; and, where relevant, defining the ecological context in which those processes occurred.

This book shows how the world's richest assortment of animals and plants has helped - or hindered - human progress in Africa.

item 2 Africa: A Biography of the Continent by Reader, John Paperback Book The Cheap -Africa: A Biography of the Continent by Reader, John Paperback Book The Cheap. item 3 Africa: A Biography of the Continent By John Reader. 9780140266757 -Africa: A Biography of the Continent By John Reader. item 4 Africa: A Biography of the Continent,John Reader -Africa: A Biography of the Continent,John Reader. This book shows how the world's richest assortment of animals and plants has helped - or hindered - human progress in Africa.

Drawing on many years of African experience, John Reader has written a book of startling grandeur and scope that recreates the great panorama of African history, from the primeval cataclysms that formed the continent to the political upheavals facing much of the continent today. Reader tells the extraordinary story of humankind's adaptation to the ferocious obstacles of forest, river and desert, and to the threat of debilitating parasites, bacteria and viruses unmatched elsewhere in the world. He also shows how the world's richest assortment of animals and plants has helped - or hindered - human progress in Africa.
  • Wenyost
This is one the most informative books ever written about Africa. John Reader goes back to the beginning, uncovering why once homo sapiens left Africa they seemed to increase in population by much greater numbers than in their home continent. Part of it is the fact that, believe it or not, there was a much greater supply of nutritious foodstuffs in Asia and Europe than in Africa, were they were generally limited to millet. The author does hint at it, but having read much about the early big game bunters in many parts of Africa, I learned the large number of species of very large or dangerous animals on the continent contributed greatly to the low level of human populations. Whole tribes were forced to depart their homelands because of the depredations of herds of elephant, rhino, and buffalo, as they did not have the weapons to deal with them. Same with outbreaks of man eating by lions, leopards and hyenas,.

In addition, although slavery did come to exist on all continents, Africa was the true home of the salve system, dating back to a period before the European ever existed. In fact today, other than Yemen and possibly Saudi Arabia, Africa is today' still the true home of slavery. This, despite the efforts of Nineteenth Century Europeans, particularly the British, to eliminate it.

Other interesting facts. The famous Zulu Tribe was simply an amalgamation of peoples who were stirred into action by the sudden revival of the slave trade in the late 18th Century near today's Maputo, by Portuguese and French slavers making raids on them in order to satisfy their plantation needs in Mozambique and Madagascar. Because the people of the various tribes were more robust than their neighbors to the south and because of their experiences against the Europeans they developed better weapons and tactics and applied them with fantastic success against the native Africans to the south. There was no Zulu Tribe per se.

These bits of information are only the beginning. If you must, call your place of employment, and claim you are seriously ill. The following week at home in an easy chair or in bed will help you understand more what life is all about than just another week with your boss and his cohorts.
  • Fecage
This book stunned me, and its effects will be with me for the rest of my life. I’ve read very widely, including many books that would and should be considered must reads for educated people, but for me, this is the most important book I’ve ever read.

Africa is long, detailed and complex, and the serious reader has to read attentively so that the many names of both people and places don’t get hopelessly confused.

Unfortunately, in this regard, Africa’s glaring flaw is its total lack of maps -- beyond a few of little use in the back of the book, having with no geographic or political information. I doubt many people can point out Timbuktu, the inland Niger Delta, Senegal or Botswana on an outline map of Africa, yet Reader refers to them -- and other far more obscure ones freely and casually as though they were corners in your hometown. Beyond that, many of the place names refer to geological formations – e.g., rivers, valleys, plateaus, mountain ranges – and they require specialized maps, not just your atlas. Finally, many names changed over the time period Reader covers, making some all but impossible to find. He should have supplied them.

However, Africa isn’t about places, other than being restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. It tells the hard tale of people who throughout the millennia have shown remarkable resilience, adaptability, and, for the most part, great humanity toward their fellows. With few exceptions, they scratched out a subsistence living in very challenging environments. People lived in small groups with high mortality rates and short lives. Very few escaped natural catastrophes in a lifetime, including prolonged drought, famine and disease. Yet they persevered. I gained immense respect and empathy for these people as I read deeper into their history.

By contrast, I gained a visceral animosity for the European savages who invaded the subcontinent in the late 15th century, enslaving, pillaging and raping the people for over five centuries. Despite the theory that only Americans are racists, Africa proves that the European invaders were not only racist but also barbaric. From the 15th century through half of the 20th century, sub-Saharan Africa suffered a 550-year holocaust of unparalleled immensity. As I read, I could only wonder at the daily existence of the people already under the thumb of the Europeans, and of those not yet captured but terrified that they soon would be.

(Incidentally, I too agree with other reviewers who’ve criticized Reader’s all but ignoring the Islamic slave trade. The Atlantic slave traders took approximately 11 million Africans to the Western Hemisphere (1 million went to the United States). By contrast, 14 million Africans were taken across the Sahara to the Eastern Mediterranean and Arabia by Islamic slavers. Why Reader omitted these facts is anyone’s guess.)

Colonialism brought its own type of hell to Africa. The worldwide slavery that Britain went to such great lengths to end in the first half of the 19th century, made a roaring comeback once King Leopold II of Belgium discovered Africa’s wealth of natural resources. A “gold rush” followed, one that makes the rush to Sutter’s Mill less than puny by comparison. From forced labor to company towns surrounded by carefully guarded wire fences to sweeping land theft, displacing thousands from their homes, Europeans treated Africans like draught animals. European arrogance knew no bounds: when World War I began, both sides even forced Africans to fight for “their” teams. Ironically, some of these same nations had the unbelievable gall to put themselves up as judges of "crimes against humanity" in the Nuremburg Trials, just 37 years after WWI ended -- even before all the colonies were freed.

After the war, Africans were declared human though they still required some additional European “parenting” before they were awarded independence. As a final parting gift, the ever wise British carved out sprawling wild animal refuges, using the most fertile farming and hunting lands while leaving the African people the dregs on which to support themselves.

Although generational guilt is nonsense, generational harm isn’t. Africa is the richest continent in the world in terms of natural resources, but it’s the poorest in terms of GDP. Generations of Africans have suffered every type of deprivation – this is Europe’s legacy. They have monuments to their all other achievements. They oughta raise a big one to this achievement.
  • Nettale
This book deals with the people, cultures, geography, geology, commerce, and climate of Africa. It is a large and ambitious book. It contains a lot of content that I had not learned before. The author's style is dry and factual. It has a textbook-like quality to it. I found it easiest to read one chapter at a time and then go on to reading something else. It isn't something I could curl up with for the evening. But the content is excellent.
  • Hugighma
One of more amazing books I have read. It addresses: Geology, Paleontology, Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Economics, War, Agriculture, and many other fields. All with some emphasis on Africa, but all with a relationship to humanity and the World at large. It is now more than 20 years old in volatile continent, but still fascinating.

It shows a significant amount of research and understanding of many areas. One of the themes is that Africa should be of interest to all of mankind. It is where man evolved and human characteristics were first developed. It has had significant interaction with most of Earth's other Continents. It can provide lessons on many aspects of the World and mankind.

My only complaints are mostly functional. It is long (700 pages), small print, and entirely inadequate visual elements (maps, pictures, etc.). I would love to have a kindle version.