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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A well-documented,thoughtful analysis of contemporary Africa
Richburg offers a fascinating and insightful analysis of the problems that continue to plague Africa. While unsettling, this book is a must read for anyone interested in foreign policy, development assistance and African area studies. His descriptions of the rage in Rwanda: the countings of the bodies and the loss of his friends, who were brutally murdered, will not be...
Am 20. Juli 1997 veröffentlicht

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2.0 von 5 Sternen The last word?
The last word on Africa? I think not.
I agree with another reviewer who said that, as a reporter, the author went to only the most devastated sections of the continent.
Not Senegal, or Ghana, but Somalia and Rwanda.
....And he didn't speak the language.
The autobiographical chapter in the beginning of the book only served to confirm that prior to...
Am 27. April 1999 veröffentlicht


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4.0 von 5 Sternen A well-documented,thoughtful analysis of contemporary Africa, 20. Juli 1997
Von Ein Kunde
Richburg offers a fascinating and insightful analysis of the problems that continue to plague Africa. While unsettling, this book is a must read for anyone interested in foreign policy, development assistance and African area studies. His descriptions of the rage in Rwanda: the countings of the bodies and the loss of his friends, who were brutally murdered, will not be easily forgotten. I read this book after reading Blaine Harden's "Africa." Harden, also a Washington Post correspondent, makes many of the same points but not in the personal, poignant way offered by Out of America. Richburg's comments on the role of America's black leaders, Wilder & Jackson, etc., in hiding the problems facing the African continent, deserve special notice. In short, one of the best books written on Africa, written by an individual who shares vividly and passionately his disappointment and sadness
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4.0 von 5 Sternen He should have had more background, 22. Juli 1998
Von Ein Kunde
What was the point of this book? That Keith Richburg is an American, not an African?
That such an astoundingly banal revelation is actually controversial in America speaks volumes about American ignorance of the outside world.
This book makes excellent points about American race relations, and paints a compelling portrait of the three years the author spent in Africa. As an understanding of Africa it is wanting. The guy spoke no African language and had remarkably little preparation for his job. At the end of three years he was still so clueless about African culture he didn't realize that a gap between one's front teeth is considered beautiful in Africa. And while he does point out in the paperback reprint that he did report from several other African countries, his observation that "Good news is no news." doesn't seem to have made him realize that as a reporter he was constantly exposed to the worst side of Africa today, and missed ordinary life in sle! epy villages. To most Africans I know, this year's rainfall is the most important news.
Who is to blame for this? I think his superiors who sent him there. I noticed that both his predecessor and successor were also black. Does the _Washington Post_ think that blacks have some kind of special cultural insight into Africa, that they don't need the language and culture training that any good reporter should get before going overseas? Or is Nairobi their idea of a "Jim Crow" assignment, to keep black reporters away from real news, which whites are supposed to report?
Granted that Africa is going through some tough times, but I wonder what his take on Europe would have been if most of what he had seen had been Northern Ireland and the former Yugoslavia.
Let us have reporters, of all colors, who are better trained in the languages and cultures of the regions of the world they report on.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Read This if You Like Progress, 17. Mai 2000
Von Ein Kunde
The wealth of Amazon.com customer reviews alone demonstrate the breadth and scope of reaction toward this unique, controversial, and courageous book. Richburg lays it on the line here, and it must be remembered that he already anticipated every angle of criticism that his ideas would generate. As a result, his arguments in the book are very well-reasoned and well-articulated, and common-sense. Granted, as a US journalist, he was assigned to cover the more atrocious and chaotic aspects of Africa, so his perspective would naturally be skewed toward problem spots. But again, he understands this and says so in his book several times. Africa is not unique with it's low living standards, government corruption, disease, poverty, and low educational standards--plus, we all know that these are ultimately Western perspectives and judgments (who's to say that these are "problems" at all, right?). Nor is Africa ALL about those evils-- there's much good and humanity and courage that shines through amongst people, every day. Richburg points this out, too. As Richburg says, however, Africa is unique because it is about blacks, and by extension, criticism from the West will be interpreted as racism. Fine. So you maintain a conspiracy of silence and/or disingenuous flattery toward military dictators, but you still get no solutions to the problems, do you? Richburg's perspective is that of a middle-class, professional, rational, fairly conservative American, and a black American as well. It took courage for him to state that he is grateful to his African ancestors for surviving the slave journey and finding the will to prevail through generations, so that he could eventually enjoy his citizineship-- however problematic, tainted, or what have you --in the most powerful, prosperous, and democratic country in the world (I didn't say perfect-- but there are lots of worse places). This is certainly a healthier perspective than bitterness, hatred, and relying on government-- or foreign aid --to solve one's ills. Let's face it: it's easier to blame others than to work internally, rationally, and courageously to solve cultural and socioeconomic problems. That's all Richburg is saying. It's conservative, but it would work a hell of a lot better than the current methodologies of government reliance, oppositional attitudes, disregard for education. I mean, the conservative approach would probably WORK, period. But that's the problem. Some leaders make a living from the sufferings of their own underclass, so they provide panaceas and keep themselves in the spotlight-- blaming whitey seems to work well -- without doing the REAL things that would actually turn things around. The parallels between the corrupt African leaders and the more octoroonish African-American activist leaders are there. We'll never know if things can really change wholesale in Africa or in America, at least not yet, because voices like Richburg-- the precious few that have the special courage to speak against the grain, from within (think about publicly criticizing your own grandmother-- that's what it must be like) --get labeled "Uncle Tom," "sell-out to Whitey," and that's that. Fine. Have your African countries in turmoil, your decaying American inner cities, and keep blaming others while accepting handouts. Is that the way to cultivate cultural pride? For people who want true, positive change for the benefit of ALL people, everywhere, it wouldn't be a bad idea to shift away from the "victim-oppression" paradigm and adopt self-help, community cohesion, and the will to change. That's a heck-of-a-lot better paradigm to focus on than what's prevalent right now. Richburg articulates this in his book, but too bad that he's mired in the "Uncle Tom" category for the moment. Because otherwise, things just might start changing for the better.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen Not a fair picture of Africa, 25. April 2000
Von Ein Kunde
I was really looking forward to reading this book when it was mentioned by a Ugandan journalist in his editorial column. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the most infuriating and frustrating books I have ever read. As many other reviewers have noted, the book does not provide a very representative picture of Africa; by focusing on Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Nairobi, and other conflict spots, Richburg attempts to generalize to the rest of Africa. This is like trying to generalize from former Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland to the rest of Europe. In contrast, many other parts of Africa present a much more complicated picture. Yes, Africa does have its problems. Yes, there needs to be "straight talk" about problems in Africa's leadership and economic struggles. But Richburg tries to attribute a barbarity to Africans at large which hardly fits the experiences of many who have lived there for extended periods of time and have much more knowledge of African languages, cultures and history than Richburg does. Like all other parts of the world, Africa is a mix of good and evil. Africans do make their own destiny, but like other regions of the world, are also influenced by outside powers.
For people who know little about it, or want their own stereotypes reinforced, this book is DANGEROUS, both in its marketing to a popular audience and because of its author's claim that he is engaging in "straight talk." In the same way as Henry Louis Gates' documentary on Africa represents a personal journey rather than an attempt to understand Africa, Richburg's account is a personal one and only masquerading as "straight talk." Richburg's descriptions of race defy logic--what is so "African" about political and ethnic violence, given the examples of Yugoslavia, the Holocaust, Indonesia, Central America? How is this "straight talk?" Richburg's attribution of a certain kind of barbarity to Africa and Africans merely reinforces prevalent stereotypes Americans hold about "deepest darkest Africa" or "savage Africa." Such an analysis does a grave injustice to a continent which has its problems (just like the US) but nevertheless contains more than its share of civilization.
So please, if you have not spent much time in Africa or are new to some of these issues, do NOT take this book as the gospel truth. Instead read African novels, history, or anthropology or at least find a writer who doesn't generalize to this extent and presents a more unbiased view.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Engaging, 18. Februar 2000
The book, Out of America, is a vivid account of the horrors of post-cold war Africa. In the book Keith Richburg, a journalist for the Washington Post, recounts his experiences as he traveled across sub-saharan africa in the early nineties. The book is divided into three sections. In the first section Richburg describes why he went on the assignment and his experiences in Somilia. During the time that he spent in that country he saw many horrible things. Hunger and senseless violence characterized his time there. He tells more than one sad story about people dropping dead from starvation on the road to food distribution centers. He contrasts these decriptions with those of the warlords running the war who live in lavish comfort and "reappropriate" aid sent to the suffering. In this first section of the book this journalist seems to be excited about Africa and its possibilities, and though the problems he sees distress him he still has hope for the continent. The second section of Out of America could be characterized by disillusionment. Horiffic civil war breaks out in Rwanda and much of one tribe located within a country kills a rival, higher-class tribe in that nation. Richburg is stunned by this and runs out of adjectives to describe the mess he is surrounded by. Richburg, a black writer with social experiences in black and white America, begins to be grateful that his ancestors were taken to the new world as slaves. In this section he begins to speak out against the America black movement that would put African culture above American. In the third section of the book the account seems to get muddeled. Richburg starts to get much and much less chronological and waxes philosophical about the chaos called African government. Most governments he experiences are run by few or only one leader who governs mainly by force. Richburg sees little hope for the reigon as the leaders and the populations don't understand what democracy involves and requires. He tells stories of rigged elections, dictators killing off the opposition, and again resolves that he is glad to be an American. Out of America is a good book to read if only for perspective. It is very easy to reside in our American position and take comfort in our luxuries and lose sight of what the gospel is. Every once in a while something comes along and shocks us by showing how dark the world is and how much we need Christ's light in our lives and in the world. So much of what Richburg described was easily attributable to sin's effects in our lives. It was good to see that and know that there is a solution to the problems described.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Sanity at last, 6. Januar 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Keith Richburg has spoken the truth from his perspective very eloquently. He points out a number of times that it is his opinion gained from his first hand experience and when viewed as such, rather than a political analysis, it is a very insightful book. He admits to being biased when he first went to Africa, but candidly admits this and shares his feelings as his viewpoint changes. Africa is a beautiful country with an outstanding climate, but to understand it, there is no other way than to go there. The culture is so totally different that from a Westerners viewpoint it is hard to understand. Growing up as a 'white' in South Africa, now living in the USA made me fully understand the complexity of emotions that he describes. In the USA many immigrants are appalled at the "you owe me a living" attitude of the black Americans when they are born with what many people are battling to get - an American citizenship - and with it more rights and opportunity than you can get elsewhere in the world. Keith Richburg confronts this head on, describing hte attitude in his neighborhood and comparing with other cultures that moved in, and moved up - for which sadly he will be scorned. Once more, he is not generalizing, but presenting what he saw. He is therefor from his experience quite correct in his position as a black American - where he is proud to be an American. He is many miles away from ever being an African American, having more opportunity in his lifetime than 99% of his ancestors or distant relatives. His visit to South Africa is also fairly accurate, as for the short period spent there, he felt the fear, and saw the confusion. In Zimbabwe, which he upholds as the "model" for Africa, however, I must disagree, and am currently reading "The Great Betrayal" by Ian Smith 1997 Blake Publishing, which gives another very personal insight into Africa. If you want to try to gain an understanding of Africa without ever visiting, Keith Richburg has written a very insightful book, and it is highly recommended reading.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Color Blind . . . or Celebrate our Diversity?, 13. Dezember 1999
Two things I don't want to do: climb Mt. Everest and visit Africa. National Geographic helps me with Everest and Keith Richburg with Africa. His journal gives details that would have caused me to turn tail and run the first day. I congratulate him for staying the course.
As he said near the end of his book, "'Out of America' is first and foremost a journalist's book. It was never intended as an academic tome or a work of political science." He worked for the Washington Post and sent news dispatches back of what he saw. But, 'news' without a human element would be like a grocery list - not exactly something that would sell newspapers. The author bends over backward, even does painful contortions, to be fair and unbiased. His main purpose is to report, and secondly to find himself and where he belongs in human societies. We shouldn't expect him to solve Africa's problems anymore than we would expect a reporter covering the AIDS epidemic to solve that problem.
He could not resist offering a solution, however. After lambasting tribalism throughout the book, he suggests a multiracial, color-blind society as an alternative. I wonder. A sport in the Old West was to toss the equivalent of a wildcat and a pit bull into a barrel, slap a lid on, then let them fight to the death. Is throwing Tutsis and Hutus together the same? We have ample evidence that peoples want to preserve their races, their cultures, or whatever else is theirs. The Jews offer a good example. They have resisted assimilation into other cultures for thousands of years - over and over again paying horrific prices to maintain their identity.
Keith Richburg has removed his masks and spoken some plain truths. That is the first step to solutions. But, instead of creating an homogenized society by 'pushing us all into one barrel,' why not try finding answers to how groups can maintain their cultural prides and identities, yet work constructively with other groups doing the same? I'm afraid that fleeing tribalism and embracing multiracial color-blindness will lead to bodies floating down the Mississippi.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen The book's title is misleading and its contents confusing., 21. Juni 1999
As a writer and the African American wife of a Liberian immigrant, I looked forward with anticipation to reading Keith Richburg's book, Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa. While I knew others had written on the subject, I thought that this recent work, penned by an African American, would shed new light on Africa, an area that is becoming of increasing interest to the world, particularly in light of the Clinton Administration's new focus on the continent as a potential gold mine of trade opportunities. But -- the book is a disappointment in every sense of the word. From the beginning, its title is misleading. This is not a book about a black man confronting Africa. This is a book about a man who, in reality, denies himself as being any "color" and who doesn't confront anything except perhaps the fact that he wishes he were "any other color" than the black skin he's wrapped in. The book's content is confusing and contradictory. Old stereotypes and facts about certain countries in Africa are presented as if they were fresh information. Gross generalizations are stated with no supporting evidence, except statements that can be easily classified as "silly." Well-known facts about Africa, when presented, are immediately followed by absurd direct linkages of those facts to skin color or to the continent without even the slightest consideration of the myriad of other mitigating causal/contributing factors that may be involved . Unlike many of the other reviewers who commented on this book, it did not arouse my anger, only my sympathy for Mr. Richburg who seems to have been lost "between two worlds" for a long time and still is. The problem is not Africa - the problem is his lack of identity. For a writer of Mr. Richburg's caliber, I expected so much more. What a disappointment!
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2.0 von 5 Sternen The last word?, 27. April 1999
Von Ein Kunde
The last word on Africa? I think not.
I agree with another reviewer who said that, as a reporter, the author went to only the most devastated sections of the continent.
Not Senegal, or Ghana, but Somalia and Rwanda.
....And he didn't speak the language.
The autobiographical chapter in the beginning of the book only served to confirm that prior to his "African journey", the author had issues with his identity as a black American.
He relives the tired "caught between two worlds" (white and black) dilemma, when he describes his wish to have white friends and the close minded black students who were sometimes violent in their disapproval.
He writes about how the black students "self-segregate" in the cafeteria, while failing to notice that most of the time, white students sit together, at "all white tables" as well.
Double standards.
He speaks of the African-American and African obsession with things like skin color and hair texture -- even the gradation of facial features -- without once discussing the history behind it.
Likewise, when he outlines the conflict between the Tutsi's and Hutu's, he fails to mention the British involvment in promoting the divide and resentment between the two groups.
When a white man tells him that in "Black" Africa, he'll be just "another nigger", Richburg doesn't take offense.
Aside from the fact that he is willing to generalize his experiences in a few African countries (and the most troubled at that) to the entire continent, what bothers me the most, is that he is so quick to condemn Africa as the worst place on Planet Earth.
Forget the struggles in eastern Europe, or China, or any other place where people have been stripped of their natural rights. They cannot hold a candle to Africa.
Richburg said he went to South Africa wanting to sympathise with the black population, yet he found himself understanding the frustration, fears, and concerns of the whites there.
They were afraid that "Africa", black Africa would take over. In other words, blacks aren't fit to run their own countries...especially when there are white people who can do a much better job. In any case, white rule (even apartheid) is preferable to black anarchy.
Am I being unfair with this summary?
Perhaps Richburg should examine the arguments of slaveholders in the American South who said that blacks weren't fit for freedom. That they needed white people to "watch over them".
He went to some of the most broken countries in the world, looking for something to make him proud to be black, proud to be of African descent and he didn't find it.
Well guess what, that doesn't change the fact that yes, even if he doesn't wish to claim it, Africa is in his blood...
And the fact remains that he should be looking within for affirmation, not to external factors that are beyond his control. If everyone based their self-esteem on the condition or actions of others in their ethnic/racial/national group, then the world would be a mess.
....I didn't say that he was an African though, because he isn't. Richburg IS an American, for better or worse. And that makes him as much of an outsider as any other visitor to the continent. You cannot take someone with a Western perspective to another country and expect them to judge the people there with anything but a Western frame-of-mind. It doesn't matter if that person is white or black.
Further, if Richburg had problems with his Black American identity, how much more so would he have to struggle with an African one.
In the end, he is happy that his ancestor made it to America.
This is not to say that Africa and Africans are faultless. At this point, we all know that some Africans were involved in the slave trade as well. Who can deny that much of what takes place in some African nations is appalling and an affront to democracy and peace-loving people of all nations. Still, violence and torture are not (and never have been) limited to Africa.
I am not saying that Africans should look to the Western world for assistance either-- even if certain Western nations (directly or indirectly) are reponsible for some of the atrocities there. I realize that when it comes to world affairs, Western nations are much more concerned with the issues surrounding other western nations, than with the problems of the poorer, darker populations in Africa and Asia -- unless they perceive those problems as a threat to their own security (or profit-making potential).
I do think that the book has some merit -- in the sense that it is a personal memoir, an account of one man's experinces. But don't take what Richburg says and accept that as the last word. Whether you are black, white, African, European, American, Asian -- whether you are an afrocentrist or a eurocentrist,or whatever -- just remember that there at least as many opinions and outlooks as there are people.
-The End.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen This book is nothing but a trash., 7. Januar 1999
Von Ein Kunde
I came to the conclusion that there's not one single part of this world which is a paradise for everybody. In africa as in america there are people who are successfull,and others are not.This is the kind of book that let people who have never travelled to america think that once they land in that country their problems are going to be over.I went to san jose in california where i lived for 7 years with my degrees thinking that life is better over there.That was after earning about $40000/year in the little gabon country.Once in the so called rich america,the only job i was able to find during 7 years is a $13000/year security guard job,even with 2 jobs i could not go back to the $40000 that i was earning in that african country.I have mate many of the so called immigrants who work for the greedy landlords in that country,all from all over the world have the same opinion.everybody who have lived in that country knows what i'm talking about.As far as i'am concerned,i'am black from africa and proud,i travelled to the author's country and have seen the same thing.i missed the americans wars when i travelled but i have seen people begging me for money,homeless,jobless etc.(every single country and race of this earth have known wars and segregations(tribes). africa may be poor in the sense of owning plenty of cars and freeways but one thing is true more than 95 % of people in african countries own their own houses.only people who want to live in the cities may have to rent. In 1949 after the war,europe was devastated,there was prostitution,jobless,homeless everywhere etc; Truman and general Marshall said those people look like us,billions of dollars were send to european countries to help them recover from that disaster.My point is ,if you care,help to fix it just like other people did because they cared.what is really the difference between a black african and a black american?some black americans think if you come from africa then you are less smart,in school they stay away from you, when you have better grades than they do then they start coming to you :bro..bro.. bro.. I'll say one thing,Africa will struggle by itself and will recover,life is not going to end on earth within 2 days.There are good generations of people to come.they will put an end to the generosity of the african continent towards the western countries and compagnies.
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