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    A vivid, heartbreaking portrait of the fate that so many African countries suffered after independence.

    The dictator who grew so rich on his country's cocoa crop that he built a 35-storey-high basilica in the jungles of the Ivory Coast. The austere, incorruptible leader who has shut Eritrea off from the world in a permanent state of war and conscripted every adult into the armed forces. In Equatorial Guinea, the paranoid despot who thought Hitler was the saviour of Africa and waged a relentless campaign of terror against his own people. The Libyan army officer who authored a new work of political philosophy, The Green Book, and lived in a tent with a harem of female soldiers, running his country like a mafia family business. 

    And behind these almost incredible stories of fantastic violence and excess lie the dark secrets of Western greed and complicity, the insatiable taste for chocolate, oil, diamonds and gold that has encouraged dictators to rule with an iron hand, siphoning off their share of the action into mansions in Paris and banks in Zurich and keeping their people in dire poverty.

    ©2020 Paul Kenyon (P)2020 Booktrack


    "A breathtaking account...Paul Kenyon is a brilliant writer who's been there and tells a story of unparalleled greed and western complicity in vivid detail." (Michael Buerk)

    “It is [the] minute observations that make Mr Kenyon's book so hard to put down." (Economist)

    “Highly readable.... A chapter on the rise of Félix Houphouët-Boigny is especially vivid." (The Times)

    Ce que les auditeurs disent de Dictatorland


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    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      4 out of 5 stars
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    • Buretto
    • 26/07/2020

    Compelling stories of despotism, narrowly focused

    The book is quite engrossing in telling the stories of primarily post-colonial dictatorships in Africa. And it focuses mainly on the quest for oil, diamonds and cocoa. That may be the reason some prominent figures of recent African history may not feature in this book. There are several of the familiar suspects, however, and the stories of the rise, reign and fall (of most) of these authoritarian regimes succeeds in holding the listener's attention. The author seems to have put a great deal of effort into several precise countries and individuals. I would definitely be interested in another volume covering those who were passed by this time.

    What this book is not, thankfully, is a kind of rationalization for European colonialism, genocide and opportunism. I had feared that may have been the case when I started, and judging by some Amazon reviews, a few people have mistakenly taken that from the book. To be clear, the focus of the book is on dictators of African descent, but it in no way ignores or mitigates European transgressions. A decent amount of time is devoted to those backstories. In any case, there are many other books that chronicle that immense topic, King Leopold's Ghost being one of the best. Similarly, the book is not myopic on ideology as cause for despotism. Each case has its own genesis, whether it be rooted in European subjugation of indigenous people, American capitalist opportunism, or Marxist revolt, or possibly all of the above. Overall a very good effort. However, some odd pronunciations and unnecessary, generic accents distracted slightly.

    7 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Amazon Customer
    • 26/02/2021

    Very interesting

    very interesting and we'll researched book! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in this subject.

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      4 out of 5 stars
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    • J. Whittle
    • 21/01/2021

    Fascinating but unfinished

    The reader learns alot about young nations and the disasters that await as brigands take advantage of the power vacuums and destroy millions of lives. It is a cautionary tale of how one local tribe simply steps into the blood stained shoes of the exiting white tribe and behaves no different. It is the sad truth of human nature. But the story feels unfinished. There are many other African nations that have had a similar or better fate. It would have been interesting to visit them all to gain a broader perspective on the nature of transition, tribes, and the curse of power. I hope the author is busy on the missing chapters.