Continent for the Taking

img_4235French, Howard W. A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2004.

Howard French’s portrayal of Africa is both professional and passionate. He is scholarly and sentimental. There is a deep knowledge about, and an undeniable kinship with, this continent yet French is able to objectively portray it all. He takes the reader through the events of horrific genocide as well as the equally deadly outbreaks of AIDS and Ebola diseases. French skillfully demonstrates how political infrastructures prove to be volatile and fragile yet Africa’s deep seeded cultural roots remain unfailing.

For me, this was a hard read. I simply couldn’t wrap my brain around the threat of senseless violence everyone, regardless of race, age, caste, or sex, had to endure. When these attacks rained down no one was safe. Survival depended on the ability to outwit, outrun, outhide the attacker.

Passages that struck:
“For Mariam, Africa would forever be home, the place where she returned to recharge” (p 5). Despite its unflinching violence, political unrest, and never-ending poverty there is an allure.
“The advantage of a good travel companion goes beyond plain company; his real value is in the kind of moral encouragement he provides…” (p 83).

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called, “Africa: A Reader’s Itinerary” (p 4).

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