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The 10 best non-fiction books on Africa in 2014

Africa non fiction Mail & Guardian

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19 replies to this topic

#1 Soukous

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 01:30 PM

If you are looking for an interesting read or to improve your knowledge of Africa, this selection from Mail & Guardian Africa might be a good place to start

 

http://mgafrica.com/...africa-in-2014/

 

a couple of titles stand out for me and I'll be acquiring them soon

 

Congo: The Epic History of A People—David Van Reybrouck

 

 China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa—Howard French


Edited by Soukous, 30 December 2014 - 01:31 PM.

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#2 Soukous

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 04:09 PM

For those seeking some good books on Africa here are a few more worthwhile links

 

The best books on Democratic Republic of the Congo:

 

The best books on Kenya

 

The best books on Sudan

The best books on Nigeria
 

 

 


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#3 twaffle

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:16 PM

Looks interesting

… clarity in thought comes after challenge …


#4 armchair bushman

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 12:04 PM

Thanks for all the links!



#5 armchair bushman

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 12:09 PM

interesting that the congo list doesn't include either of the two most well-known books: "King Leopold's Ghost" and "In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz"

 

BTW, I would HIGHLY recommend the latter, written by Michaela Wrong (Same author as "It's Our Turn To Eat" - regarding the politics of corruption in Kenya).  "Footsteps" was more enjoyable and somehow more engaging than 'our turn to eat'.  I couldn't put it down and it makes you laugh, cry, and clench your fists in anger.  Really excellent writing.


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#6 Soukous

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 12:16 PM

yes @armchair bushman the lists are not particularly exhaustive, nor necessarily the books I would chose but hey, if we can get people reading about Africa, especially some of the African authors, then that's a start.


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"if you think you're too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito."

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#7 armchair bushman

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 05:16 AM

Agreed, and well put.



#8 optig

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 07:05 PM

I have to say that David Van Reybrouck's book on the Congo was nothing less than a masterpiece. He interviewed Congolese people who had lived through every period of history. I could barely put it down.Michelle Wong's books on the Congo are also superb.

#9 wenchy

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 12:57 AM

China into Africa : trade, aid and influence - Robert rotberg

The dragons gift : real story of China in Africa - Deborah brautigam

New kings of crude - Luke patey

Clay feet - Celeste hicks
Africa's new oil - celeste hicks
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#10 Tom Kellie

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 09:24 PM

China into Africa : trade, aid and influence - Robert rotberg

The dragons gift : real story of China in Africa - Deborah brautigam

New kings of crude - Luke patey

Clay feet - Celeste hicks
Africa's new oil - celeste hicks

 

~ @wenchy:

 

Thank you for posting this.

 

Tom K.



#11 Tom Kellie

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 09:31 PM

yes @armchair bushman the lists are not particularly exhaustive, nor necessarily the books I would chose but hey, if we can get people reading about Africa, especially some of the African authors, then that's a start.

 

~ @Soukous:

 

What you've written above has been going through my mind for the past few months.

 

I feel that I have far too little context about Africa, especially from African authors.

 

Several days ago I made a concerted effort to seek out a book by Kenyan female authors.

 

I'm very, very glad that you posted your comment above, which reflects my own thinking as an outsider interested in deepening my understanding.

 

With Thanks,

 

Tom K.



#12 Bushfire

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 10:08 AM

"

 

I have to say that David Van Reybrouck's book on the Congo was nothing less than a masterpiece....

 

 

Couldn't agree more !


Edited by Bushfire, 24 June 2015 - 10:11 AM.

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#13 offshorebirder

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 07:05 PM

Thanks @Soukous.  I will check out David Van Reybrouck's book, particularly given the ringing endorsement from @optig

 

I recently read Richard Leakey's "Wildlife Wars" and found that in addition to wildlife conservation, it provided illuminating background on Kenyan society, politics, corruption and tribal rivalries.  I think it is a good primer for people preparing for their first trip to Kenya (as I am).

 

I also just finished Boyd Varty's "Cathedral of the Wild" about growing up at Londolozi and thought it was pretty good.


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#14 Soukous

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 04:32 PM

@offshorebirder you should also try to read "Blood Ivory - the massacre of the African elephant" by Robin Brown. It also has a lot of good background information.


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#15 Kitsafari

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 02:17 AM

so glad this got bumped up. how did i miss this when @Soukous first posted the thread? 

 

@offshorebirder i've also just finished Boyd Varty's book ahead of my stay there. fascinating to read how the region there has regrown into a phototourism place there and all the background stories to the Tiger park too. 

 

I';ve also just finished Hyena Nights and Kalahari Days, which was so educational and informative about brown hyenas! I've not seen a recommendation for "Wine to Water" a true story about an American Doc Henley and his efforts to bring drinkable water to Sudan and the scary political and military trials and tragedies in doing that. 

 

Thanks to the suggestions above, I'm putting my orders for these  books: 

 

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History—Elizabeth Kolbert

What’s gone wrong?: South Africa on the Brink of a Failed Statehood—Alex Boraine

"In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz" by Michaela Wrong

 

Congo: The Epic History of A People—David Van Reybrouck

 

The dragons gift : real story of China in Africa - Deborah brautigam

 

Richard Leakey's "Wildlife Wars" 



#16 Tom Kellie

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 08:30 PM

I recently read Richard Leakey's "Wildlife Wars" and found that in addition to wildlife conservation, it provided illuminating background on Kenyan society, politics, corruption and tribal rivalries.  I think it is a good primer for people preparing for their first trip to Kenya (as I am).

 

~ @offshorebirder

 

You'll be visiting Kenya?

 

In 2015? 

 

Tom K.



#17 offshorebirder

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Posted 27 June 2015 - 12:00 AM

@Kitsafari - do be sure to check your local library before purchasing Dr. Leakey's book - several library branches in my home county had copies (and Boyd Varty's as well). On the same library visit, I checked out two of the Joubert's books - The Africa Diaries and Hunting with the Moon. The former was quite good and I am just starting the latter.

@Tom Kellie - yes a friend and I will be visiting Kenya for the first time in January 2016 - January 7-23. Time seems to be passing intolerably slowly - like waiting for Christmas as a child...
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#18 Tom Kellie

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Posted 27 June 2015 - 06:12 AM

@Tom Kellie - yes a friend and I will be visiting Kenya for the first time in January 2016 - January 7-23. Time seems to be passing intolerably slowly - like waiting for Christmas as a child...

 

~ @offshorebirder

 

This is GREAT news !!!!!!!!!

 

I'm so pleased to know this.

 

I was in Kenya this year at that same time — birds aplenty!

 

You have my fullest sympathies on the glacier-like wait.

 

Knowing that you'll be enjoying Kenya at the beginning of 2016 makes me as delighted as if I was going!

 

Thanks so much for this most welcome update!

 

Tom K.



#19 optig

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 06:36 AM

I have to say that Dr. Richard Leakey's Wildlife Wars is one of the most important books that I've ever read on Africa. He answers his critics who have accused him of arrogance,and being self serving. He gives full credit to his staff,and all the other members of the KWS whom he makes very clear he couldn't have succeeded without. He is truly a great man.



#20 COSMIC RHINO

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 07:51 AM

thanks @optig

 

I have  just got my copy of WILDLIFE WARS from http://www.abebooks.com   , it is semi out of print and prices here for such books are much better than Amazon USD 1 per page.

 

abebooks are cheap  to reasonable  in price

 

it is a coop site linking independent book dealers around. as it turns out my copy was in another part of Sydney


Edited by COSMIC RHINO, 06 April 2016 - 07:51 AM.

Wild Africa is in my blood. All life is sacred and interconnected. for the animals are fellow nations caught in the splendor and trevail of the earth.






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