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The Fortunes of Africa

A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor
Written by: Martin Meredith
Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
Length: 26 hrs and 36 mins
Categories: History, World
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping history of the fortune seekers, adventurers, despots, and thieves who have ruthlessly endeavored to extract gold, diamonds, and other treasures from Africa and its people.

Africa has been coveted for its rich natural resources ever since the era of the pharaohs. In past centuries, it was the lure of gold, ivory, and slaves that drew merchant-adventurers and conquerors from afar. In modern times, the focus of attention is on oil, diamonds, and other rare earth minerals.

In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse of their future.

His cast of characters includes religious leaders, mining magnates, warlords, dictators, and many other legendary figures - among them Mansa Musa, ruler of the medieval Mali empire, said to be the richest man the world has ever known. 

©2014 Martin Meredith (P)2019 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"A gripping tale of insatiable greed-personal and collective." (Booklist)

"[A] broad-ranging history of Africa from the age of the pharaohs to the present, with a solid emphasis on economics...richly detailed...a useful study." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Mr. Meredith artfully weaves together exploration, trade, and geography in a narrative that is both detailed and arresting.... [He] leaves the reader bursting with a wealth of facts." (The Economist)

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  • NatsFan
  • 2019-08-15

Worthy of your time

Fast moving , would like more depth on tribalism., my only complaint. such rampant corruption it'll make you cry.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-07-26

Full of information, sometimes disorganized

Great book for someone seeking a better understanding of colonialism, African history, early modern history and modern African instability and corruption.

Author often skips randomly from one topic to another though, which can be at times perplexing and unusual.

Overall though, impressive piece of literature spanning a long period. Happy to have had the fortune to purchase and listen to this.

The narrator is excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful