Catalogue


Into the house of the ancestors : inside the new Africa /
Karl Maier.
imprint
New York : Wiley, c1998.
description
x, 278 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
047113547X (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Wiley, c1998.
isbn
047113547X (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
1736153
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Karl Maier served as the Africa correspondent for the Independent newspaper from 1986 to 1995 and has contributed articles on Africa to the Washington Post, the Economist, and the Christian Science Monitor.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1998-01-05:
Although many books have portrayed the problems of today's Africa, Maier, former Africa correspondent for the Independent of London, takes a more hopeful view. His aim is not to sanitize the image of sub-Saharan Africa but to "celebrate the spirit" of ordinary people striving to better their world. Thus he describes trailblazers like a Ghanaian sociologist working to help the elderly, and he explains how Mozambique's once socialist government adapted to the spirit claims of traditional chiefs and healers. Taking issue with the widespread pessimistic view of "coming anarchy," he notes that a country like Sierra Leone has had democratic elections rather than descending into chaos. Yet Maier's sobering portrait of Rwanda acknowledges only a slim hope for peace and justice, and he laments the unrealized potential of behemoth Nigeria. This book is not comprehensive but anecdotal; France's enduring influence or Western policies toward Africa are hardly broached. But even if Maier seems Pollyannish at times, this is a reasonable counterpart to accounts that focus only on conflict. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 1998-06:
In the past decade, many journalistic accounts have enumerated Africa's corruption and inefficiency, its crumbling infrastructure, and enough anecdotes to amuse as well as appall. Maier, who spent a decade in Africa writing for The Independent, offers a very different view of contemporary Africa. His book should be required reading for those concerned with foreign policy, development politics, and yes, even journalists. The general reader can also learn a great deal from this well-written narrative about the forces for change, both positive and negative. Maier is no cockeyed optimist, but he does see beyond the superficial horrors of front-page reporting. He provides biographical sketches of Africans who are responding creatively to socioeconomic challenges. Real people populate this book, not just the leaders and their faulted policies. Maier sensitively probes major themes in Africa's past and their continuing impact on the present. His demonstration of how Africans are reshaping their traditions into a new, useful synthesis is a major strength of this study. All levels. J. A. Works Jr.; University of Missouri--St. Louis
Appeared in Library Journal on 1998-01-01:
Maier, a foreign correspondent in Africa for over ten years and author of Angola: Promises and Lies (Serif, 1996), has produced a remarkable book dealing with the spirit of a changing sub-Saharan Africa. It is no easy task to articulate an intangible undercurrent in an area so geographically large and culturally diverse, but Maier has succeeded admirably in revealing how African peoples today are "summoning their tremendous inner vitality...to adapt to a rapidly changing world around them." In clearly written journalistic prose, Maier illustrates his thesis with individuals, places, and events from all over the sub-Saharan continent; there is, unquestionably, a movement to return to the pre-colonial, pre-Christian, pre-Muslim African spiritual beliefs, and the reassertion of the African spirit can be seen in politics, medicine, education, religion, even the military. African peoples face huge hurdles (AIDS, civil wars, famine) as they enter the 21st century, but Maier gives us hope that they can rebound and even thrive. Highly recommended.‘Ruth K. Baacke, Whatcom Cty. Lib. Sys., Bellingham, Wash. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, January 1998
Publishers Weekly, January 1998
Choice, June 1998
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Experience Africa's vibrant and volatile struggle at the crossroads between tradition and modernity . . . INTO THE HOUSE OF THE ANCESTORS "Rich . . . fascinating." --The New York Times Book Review "A master of eyewitness description and of the telling interview, [Maier] has unearthed Africa's hidden heroes and heroines." --Financial Times "Maier has written a sensitive and complex narrative. . . . excellent descriptions of the lives and experiences of both ordinary and extraordinary individuals in different parts of Africa." --Richard Leakey, The Times (London) "A remarkable book. . . . It is no easy task to articulate an intangible undercurrent in an area so geographically large and culturally diverse, but Maier has succeeded admirably. Maier gives us hope that [the Africans] can rebound and even thrive. Highly recommended." --Library Journal
Back Cover Copy
Experience the vibrant and volatile life of Africa's struggle for a "second revolution" in this penetrating narrative portrait of a continent at a turning point in history. Based on hundreds of interviews-with traditional healers, chiefs, business innovators, scientists, generals, doctors, poets, and politicians-Into the House of the Ancestors goes beyond clich'd images of corruption, brutality, and starvation to illuminate the essence of Africa's extraordinary spirit. With an exceptional combination of insight and information, leading journalist Karl Maier reveals a rising force of activists and innovators taking control of their lives and their destinies in ways that are ingenious and inspirational. Distinctively African, they are forging a quiet revolution that holds immense promise for the continent's future. As strikingly varied as the continent itself, Africans today are courageously "innovating the past," reviving and expanding the rich traditions of their cultures to find African solutions to Africa's problems. Turning away from dependence on foreign development and relief funds, these trailblazers are also rejecting the corruption and debilitating inefficiencies of postcolonialism and are demanding fundamental reforms. Key to understanding the true complexity of Africa today, Maier argues, is an appreciation of the rich blending of tradition and modernization that infuses everyday life. From the spirit called Mungoi, who protects a small village from the ravages of a war in Mozambique, to the remarkable young woman doctor-trained in modern medicine-who becomes a Zulu chief, Maier captures the untold stories that reveal how creatively Africans are connecting tradition to development. Maier grounds his hopeful view of Africa's potential not only on contemporary reporting, but on the keen perspectives and insights of the continent's most distinguished historians. Providing crucial context about the scope and impact of the slave trade and the colonial period, Maier offers a probing analysis of the key aspects of Africa's past that shape the challenges for the future. Unique among books on Africa today, Into the House of the Ancestors comes right out of the virtually unknown wellspring of energy and commitment, profoundly determining the future course of scores of nations and their continent. Praise for INTO THE HOUSE OF THE ANCESTORS "Both well-informed and comprehensive, bearing witness to an experience of Africa both deep and wide. Above all, a very balanced book, reflecting a real human understanding." - Abiola Irele "Maier comes to us as one who has had a great deal of empathy for Africa. The actors are African, and he is fully respectful of his subject matter." - Peter Ekeh
Back Cover Copy
Experience the vibrant and volatile life of Africa's struggle for a "second revolution" in this penetrating narrative portrait of a continent at a turning point in history.Based on hundreds of interviews-with traditional healers, chiefs, business innovators, scientists, generals, doctors, poets, and politicians-Into the House of the Ancestors goes beyond clichéd images of corruption, brutality, and starvation to illuminate the essence of Africa's extraordinary spirit. With an exceptional combination of insight and information, leading journalist Karl Maier reveals a rising force of activists and innovators taking control of their lives and their destinies in ways that are ingenious and inspirational. Distinctively African, they are forging a quiet revolution that holds immense promise for the continent's future.As strikingly varied as the continent itself, Africans today are courageously "innovating the past," reviving and expanding the rich traditions of their cultures to find African solutions to Africa's problems. Turning away from dependence on foreign development and relief funds, these trailblazers are also rejecting the corruption and debilitating inefficiencies of postcolonialism and are demanding fundamental reforms.Key to understanding the true complexity of Africa today, Maier argues, is an appreciation of the rich blending of tradition and modernization that infuses everyday life. From the spirit called Mungoi, who protects a small village from the ravages of a war in Mozambique, to the remarkable young woman doctor-trained in modern medicine-who becomes a Zulu chief, Maier captures the untold stories that reveal how creatively Africans are connecting tradition to development.Maier grounds his hopeful view of Africa's potential not only on contemporary reporting, but on the keen perspectives and insights of the continent's most distinguished historians. Providing crucial context about the scope and impact of the slave trade and the colonial period, Maier offers a probing analysis of the key aspects of Africa's past that shape the challenges for the future.Unique among books on Africa today, Into the House of the Ancestors comes right out of the virtually unknown wellspring of energy and commitment, profoundly determining the future course of scores of nations and their continent.Praise for INTO THE HOUSE OF THE ANCESTORS"Both well-informed and comprehensive, bearing witness to an experience of Africa both deep and wide. Above all, a very balanced book, reflecting a real human understanding." - Abiola Irele"Maier comes to us as one who has had a great deal of empathy for Africa. The actors are African, and he is fully respectful of his subject matter." - Peter Ekeh
Bowker Data Service Summary
In a richly woven narrative about the vibrant and volatile life of Africa, Maier provides a portrait of the "2nd revolution" - where Africans all over the continent are innovating the past traditions of their cultures to improve the quality of life.
Back Cover Copy
Experience the vibrant and volatile life of Africa's struggle for a "second revolution" in this penetrating narrative portrait of a continent at a turning point in history.Based on hundreds of interviews-with traditional healers, chiefs, business innovators, scientists, generals, doctors, poets, and politicians-Into the House of the Ancestors goes beyond clich'd images of corruption, brutality, and starvation to illuminate the essence of Africa's extraordinary spirit. With an exceptional combination of insight and information, leading journalist Karl Maier reveals a rising force of activists and innovators taking control of their lives and their destinies in ways that are ingenious and inspirational. Distinctively African, they are forging a quiet revolution that holds immense promise for the continent's future.As strikingly varied as the continent itself, Africans today are courageously "innovating the past," reviving and expanding the rich traditions of their cultures to find African solutions to Africa's problems. Turning away from dependence on foreign development and relief funds, these trailblazers are also rejecting the corruption and debilitating inefficiencies of postcolonialism and are demanding fundamental reforms.Key to understanding the true complexity of Africa today, Maier argues, is an appreciation of the rich blending of tradition and modernization that infuses everyday life. From the spirit called Mungoi, who protects a small village from the ravages of a war in Mozambique, to the remarkable young woman doctor-trained in modern medicine-who becomes a Zulu chief, Maier captures the untold stories that reveal how creatively Africans are connecting tradition to development.Maier grounds his hopeful view of Africa's potential not only on contemporary reporting, but on the keen perspectives and insights of the continent's most distinguished historians. Providing crucial context about the scope and impact of the slave trade and the colonial period, Maier offers a probing analysis of the key aspects of Africa's past that shape the challenges for the future.Unique among books on Africa today, Into the House of the Ancestors comes right out of the virtually unknown wellspring of energy and commitment, profoundly determining the future course of scores of nations and their continent.Praise for INTO THE HOUSE OF THE ANCESTORS"Both well-informed and comprehensive, bearing witness to an experience of Africa both deep and wide. Above all, a very balanced book, reflecting a real human understanding." - Abiola Irele"Maier comes to us as one who has had a great deal of empathy for Africa. The actors are African, and he is fully respectful of his subject matter." - Peter Ekeh
Long Description
Experience the vibrant and volatile life of Africa2s struggle for a "second revolution" in this penetrating narrative portrait of a continent at a turning point in history. Based on hundreds of interviews-with traditional healers, chiefs, business innovators, scientists, generals, doctors, poets, and politicians-Into the House of the Ancestors goes beyond cliched images of corruption, brutality, and starvation to illuminate the essence of Africa2s extraordinary spirit. With an exceptional combination of insight and information, leading journalist Karl Maier reveals a rising force of activists and innovators taking control of their lives and their destinies in ways that are ingenious and inspirational. Distinctively African, they are forging a quiet revolution that holds immense promise for the continent2s future. As strikingly varied as the continent itself, Africans today are courageously "innovating the past," reviving and expanding the rich traditions of their cultures to find African solutions to Africa2s problems. Turning away from dependence on foreign development and relief funds, these trailblazers are also rejecting the corruption and debilitating inefficiencies of postcolonialism and are demanding fundamental reforms. Key to understanding the true complexity of Africa today, Maier argues, is an appreciation of the rich blending of tradition and modernization that infuses everyday life. From the spirit called Mungoi, who protects a small village from the ravages of a war in Mozambique, to the remarkable young woman doctor-trained in modern medicine-who becomes a Zulu chief, Maier captures the untold stories that reveal how creatively Africans are connecting tradition to development. Maier grounds his hopeful view of Africa2s potential not only on contemporary reporting, but on the keen perspectives and insights of the continent2s most distinguished historians. Providing crucial context about the scope and impact of the slave trade and the colonial period, Maier offers a probing analysis of the key aspects of Africa2s past that shape the challenges for the future. Unique among books on Africa today, Into the House of the Ancestors comes right out of the virtually unknown wellspring of energy and commitment, profoundly determining the future course of scores of nations and their continent. Praise for INTO THE HOUSE OF THE ANCESTORS "Both well-informed and comprehensive, bearing witness to an experience of Africa both deep and wide. Above all, a very balanced book, reflecting a real human understanding." - Abiola Irele "Maier comes to us as one who has had a great deal of empathy for Africa. The actors are African, and he is fully respectful of his subject matter." - Peter Ekeh
Table of Contents
Prefacep. v
Glorious Lightp. 1
New Roads Takenp. 11
A Spirit of Peacep. 45
The Healing Touchp. 75
The Battle for the Mindp. 105
The Universal Soldierp. 129
Heroes of the Apocalypsep. 155
An Act of Faithp. 191
Circling Spirits of the Agep. 227
Postscriptp. 253
Notesp. 263
Acknowledgmentsp. 269
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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