After a lifetime’s close observation of the continent, one of the world’s finest Africa correspondents has penned a landmark book on life and death in modern Africa. It takes a guide as observant, experienced, and patient as Richard Dowden to reveal its truths.
Dowden combines a novelist’s gift for atmosphere with the scholar’s grasp of historical change as he spins tales of cults and commerce in Senegal and traditional spirituality in Sierra Leone; analyzes the impact of oil and the internet on Nigeria and aid on Sudan; and examines what has gone so badly wrong in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo. Dowden’s master work is an attempt to explain why Africa is the way it is, and enables its readers to see and understand this miraculous continent as a place of inspiration and tremendous humanity.
Richard Dowden (born 20 March 1949 in Surrey, United Kingdom) is a British journalist who has specialised in African issues. Since 1975, he has worked for several British media and for the past eight years he has been the Executive Director of the Royal African Society. He is the author of the book Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles (Portobello Books, 2008), which has a foreword by the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. Dowden lives and works in London.