The Shackled Continent

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International Affairs

Book Review

Name: Daniel Martín Carvajal
Book: “The Shackled Continent”

1. What are the key themes of the book and what is the author’s opinion on them?

The Shackled Continent is a lively, engaging and ultimately hopeful book about Saharan Africa written by Robert Guest. The author analyses the question why Africa still is so poor and reflects the problems in this region like poverty, disease, war, corruption... and it is enlivened by the stories and encounters that he recites, and by the idea, that things need not be this way forever. There are differences of culture and history in these different countries, but again there are similarities of experience that marks out much of the post-colonial period. Corruption is endemic, poverty everywhere, wars are brutal and never-ending, and AIDS daily saps at the lives of people. The author criticises the failure in leadership of most African countries and reflects that Africa still needs to go a long way to improve, but at the end, it will prosper.

2. What did you find interesting in the book? Why?

Honestly I found The Shackled Continent a very interesting book and could not say exactly how much I liked a particular part better than the others, and I've always wanted to know what exactly is happening in this region of the world, which do not stop watching unpleasant images on television and read in newspapers chilling news. But I always wanted to go into this subject without the influences of the media, explained by someone who has experienced firsthand. So if I have to stay with any part of the book, I get the answer that gives the author about the principal African problem. Guest argues it is because African governments have been either rigidly authoritarian or riven by corruption and tribalism. Governments have been wedded to central planning and consequently have failed to develop. Freedom, political and economic, has been denied to...
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