Journalist Blaine Harden reveals the darker, unsightly picture of Africa which is beginning to emerge in the media. Each of the eight chapters focuses on a single country and a single story, using examples and anecdotes to give context and comprehensibility to problems usually clouded by sociological jargon. He has two principal themes: the battle between modernity, with its double-edged benefits, and the tribal way of life; and the way that Western governments seek to appease their sense of duty, or salve their imperial consciences by providing "aid" which in fact often makes problems worse than they were before. Harden was once thrown out of Kenya for his attack on the corruption endemic even in that romanticized country. This book is controversial, and provokes thought about where Africa is going and what it is becoming.
From 1985 to 1989, Blaine Harden was bureau chief for the Washington Post in sub-Saharan Africa. Born in the state of Washington, he received his masters degree in newspaper journalism from Syracuse University. He won the Livingston Award for feature writing in 1987.