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It's Our Turn to Eat [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Michela Wrong
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7. Januar 2010
Als Michela Wrongs kenianischer Freund John Githongo eines Tages mit kleinem Gepäck vor ihrer Tür in London steht, weiß sie das, dass etwas schiefgelaufen ist. Vor zwei Jahren, in einer Atmosphäre der Euphorie, war John zu Kenias neuen Anti-Korruptions-Zaren berufen worden. Mit ihm, einem bekannten Anti-Korruptions-Kreuzzügler, wollte die damals neue Regierung signalisieren, dass die Ära der Bestechung zu Ende gehe. Doch die neue Administration hat nicht mit der vergangenen Traditionen gebrochen, und John ist auf der Flucht... Wrongs Geschichte geht über Githongos Einzelschicksal weit hinaus, indem sie die kulturellen, historischen und sozialen Themen aufzeigt, die die kontinuierliche Krise des afrikanischen Kontinents bedingen und viele Fragen beantwortet, die sich Außenstehende seit Jahrzehnten stellen.

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  • Taschenbuch: 400 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harper Collins Paperbacks (7. Januar 2010)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0007241976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007241972
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 19,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 127.059 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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'A down-to-earth yet sophisticated expose of how an entire country can be munched in the clammy claws of corruption.' The Economist, BOOKS OF THE YEAR 'A lively and detailed account of the looting of Kenya by its politicians!A shocking tale told with verve and suspense.' The Times 'An exceptionally talented writer!More than a story about a whistle-blower, and more than about Kenya. It could have been written anywhere where corruption is endemic.' Guardian 'The story offers a fascinating insight into Kenya and is a thrilling whodunit, worthy of John Le Carre.' the london paper 'Michella Wrong has written a compelling book. Well researched, poignant.' Graham Boyton, Daily Telegraph 'A gripping new biography-cum-thriller.' Evening Standard


A gripping account of both an individual caught on the horns of an excruciating moral dilemma and a continent at a turning point. When Michela Wrong's Kenyan friend John Githongo appeared one cold February morning on the doorstep of her London flat, carrying a small mountain of luggage and four trilling mobile phones he seemed determined to ignore, it was clear something had gone very wrong in a country regarded until then as one of Africa's few budding success stories. Two years earlier, in the wave of euphoria that followed the election defeat of long-serving President Daniel arap Moi, John had been appointed Kenya's new anti-corruption czar. In choosing this giant of a man with a booming laugh, respected as a longstanding anti-corruption crusader, the new government was signalling to both its own public and the world at large that it was set on ending the practices that had made Kenya an international by-word for sleaze. Now John was on the run, having realised that the new administration, far from breaking with the past, was using near-identical techniques to pilfer public funds.John's tale, which has all the elements of the political thriller, is the story of how a brave man came to make a lonely decision with huge ramifications.

But his story transcends the personal, touching as it does on the cultural, historical and social themes that lie at the heart of the continent's continuing crisis. Tracking this story of an African whistleblower who started out as a pillar of the establishment, Michela Wrong seeks answers to the questions that have puzzled outsiders for decades. What is it about African society that makes corruption so hard to eradicate, so sweeping in its scope, so destructive in its impact? Why have so many African presidents found it so easy to reduce all political discussion to the self-serving calculation of which tribe gets to "eat"? And at what stage will Africans start placing the wider interests of their nation ahead of the narrow interests of their tribe? -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

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10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Must read! 2. März 2009
Von Anna Latz
The book is great, and you come away from it knowing a lot more than you did before. As John Githongo's former colleague Michela Wrong had access to all the juicy details of his struggle against corruption, so she was able to tell a very lively tale that reads like a thriller. But the book also contains a mine of background information. It tells us about the history of Kenya, the Kikuyu (though the baddies of the story are mainly Kikuyu, the Kikuyu as a whole come across as decent, respectable people), how tribalism inevitably leads to corruption, about the mechanics of the Anglo Leasing scam and about the negative impact of many well-intentioned Western aid efforts. Michela Wrong mercilessly exposes her villains' malefactions but she makes us understand their motivations as well. Her unprejudiced approach and her lucid style make the book a joy to read (just like her other two Africa books ).
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27 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A very good introduction to the politics of corruption 10. Juli 2009
Von Autodidact - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Wrong's book is cast as a biography of John Githongo, the former Kenyan anticorruption czar who blew the whistle on the Anglo Leasing scandal and fled for his life. Using Githongo's story, Wrong is able to weave in a substantial amount of important background information on Kenya, on ethnic politics, on corruption, and on aid delivery. It's a lovely and readable introduction to these issues, if a bit long, and I'm buying another copy as a gift for someone who has no knowledge of Africa, aid or corruption issues. Although at the beginning Wrong's writing style dips into a maddening form of purple prose, she soon rights herself. She's at her best when explaining issues rather than engaging in cinematic story telling; and she has an excellent grasp of the issues, and of the human costs of the issues that comes through clearly.

The book suffers where Wrong makes herself a subject, with self-conscious self importance of her own role in what she sees as a Le Carre novel. What is unusual about the Githongo story is both that Githongo went public and that somebody (namely the donor community) cared. But the financing of politics (as well as personal consumption) through procurement fraud in the security and military sector is absolutely everyday stuff in low income countries (and even some countries that are not low income). People trip over it, talk about it, write about it, sometimes audit it and very occasionally are killed over it -- usually without feeling the need to consult Le Carre for advice. Fortunately there is not too much of this.

An argument of her book is that John Githongo, who is reportedly intelligent, and who was the head of Transparency International in Nairobi before working for Kibaki and whose father did bookkeeping and presumably money laundering for the Moi regime, entered the Kibaki government with an incredible amount of wide-eyed naivete. Without knowing any of the principals personally, however, I always found it difficult to believe that Githongo had managed to reach maturity with absolutely no idea of how politics is financed in his country -- or indeed in any low-income country -- and what that implies for the commitment to the fight against corruption for the head of an incumbent political party and his Minister of Finance. It should be noted that Wrong is a personal friend of Githongo, who apparently gave her substantial material for this book. I wonder if Wrong is a little too close to her story to ask the hard questions.

Both in this book and in her last, Wrong finds fault with any compromise with existing African political machines. Such compromise, she argues, implies that Africans are not worthy of good government or are incapable of it. But patronage politics are not simply the result of bad people in government -- there are social forces that drive it -- which is why it is relatively impervious to a change of administration. More, it is obviously not exclusively African, so it is hard to read an insult to Africans in a recognition of the resilient nature of patronage politics.

The naive "bad people" theory of government too often informs the actions of Western donors, who like Diogenes spend their time looking for honest champions with whom they can entrust their money. It also drives American foreign policy, as Americans spend time lopping off the heads of foreign governments. But political machines are Hydra-headed. As one wag said in Panama about Noriega, "They took Ali Baba and they left us the forty thieves." We would all be better off if we understood that political machines take time to change, and asked instead how reformers can address the social drivers that create them, and how the West can best deal with political machines where we find them. Neither the old Cold War shrug, nor indignant and self-righteous total repudiation are likely to be useful strategies.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Introductory to Michela Wrong's books 13. Juli 2009
Von A. Davis - Veröffentlicht auf
The two Amazon reviews for her new book are complimentary but weighty for someone who is merely interested in whether to pick up her book or not. If you have read her previous two, then my answer is a resounding YES! In this book she explores the events that caused current Kenyan President Kibaki's aide John Githongo to expose the corruption in their government. She also explores the aftermath of his whistle-blowing, including the riots occurring late 2007 after Kibaki was sworn in for a second term.
It is the combination of Wrong's veteran journalist chops and her desire to tell stories of the scary truth beyond any fictional thriller that takes what has happened recently in Kenya from a lurid, sensational story to a nuanced, thoughtful and ultimately heartbreaking story with no easy answers.
I read Michela Wrong's books because they encourage me to think about a world outside of the one I live in.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A wake up call for the west 26. August 2009
Von LM Charlton - Veröffentlicht auf
It's not clear to me why other reviewers persistently recharacterize one of this book's strongest points as a negative. The author has brought to bear her considerable experience with the country, region, culture, and political landscape to tell a story that has long needed telling about Africa's failure to come to grips with the tyranny of corruption. As long as donor nations continue to fund the kleptocracies that exist only to serve and perpetuate themselves, we in the west will continue to be played for fools.

I found this to be a strong and engaging account of one of the more intractable problems I've run into. I wish it had left me feeling hopeful, but it was far too consistent with my own experience to permit such self-delusion. Instead, it left me filled with admiration for a hero who, thanks to the author's incorporation of her personal experience, can be seen as a human and not as the caricature that time will eventually make of him. I also appreciate the historical and political canvass she offered to illuminate just how audacious his actions were.

Yes, the book does have the occasional hyphen, but the prose is never dull and the account moves very briskly. I found the style refreshing and enjoyed reading a treatment that mixed the personal with the historical with the social with the legal with a touch of suspense in a package that showed some respect for the reader who is hoping for something more considered than what might be offered from the Live Aid stage.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Fighting lost battles : corruption 9. November 2010
Von Luis Marti - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
There are three main strands in this short and gripping book. One is the extent to which high-level corruption is embedded in the (formally) democratic structures of Kenya. The second reveals the willingness of donor countries and multilaterals to go on doing business as usual after corruption is revealed and a few eye-brows have been raised .... The engrossing chapters describing both aspects confirm the conviction of many development economists that fighting corruption is a battle lost even before the fight : there is a conspiracy of silence among the leaders, and donors and multilaterals are good at barking but hardly ever bite. The third strand is the exemplary story of a man of values, John Githongo, put at the helm of an anti-corruption authority by country leaders who expected Githongo to expose graft in the previous government -but keep clear of the misdeeds of the incumbents.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen All You Can Eat 9. September 2009
Von Memusi - Veröffentlicht auf
It's Our Turn to Eat is a real-life political thriller that lifts the curtain on the inner workings of an African government.

And where else do you get that? Most books by outsiders about Africa - the ones you see on the bestseller lists - trade in cliches and stereotypes. They divide the continent into innocent victims and venal dictators. At one extreme you get books that could be titled: "My Adventures in ..." (fill in the war-torn country). At the other, you get dry textbooks by people who spent years researching their subject but don't know how to tell a story.

This book is far smarter. It doesn't aim for an everything-you-need-to-know-about-Africa view of the continent. Instead it says more by saying less, focusing on the story of how John Githongo became a whistle blower at the heart of Kenya's government, why he blew the whistle and what happened next.

Githongo comes across as a visionary but if he's a saint he's a 21st century kind of saint. He makes silly decisions as well as brave ones. He infuriates his friends by constantly skipping appointments. He might have a true moral compass but by the end of the book it's not clear how he's going to get there and even he doesn't seem to know. In other words, he's a rich, rounded character: not a cliche, not a stereotype.

One other thing to like about the book: it has cool enemies. Michela Wrong shares Githongo's view of corruption and she writes with controlled outrage.

Yet the villains of the story aren't so much the looters themselves. They're the army of donors and diplomats who have invested so much in the status quo they can't really imagine Kenya - and by extension Africa - being any different. And she nails them: certain senior diplomats and aid donors will not enjoy this book.

But you will.
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