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13 November 2007

$1/Day, Child-headed Households, 28 Million, A Continent Dying....Don't Look Away: Part II

I wrote yesterday that I would post a list of books about global poverty, the UN Millennium Development Goals, and Africa. These are books that I have read or am in process of reading. There is much more information out there. Reviews are from Amazon's web pages (linked).

On global poverty:

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Times Jeffrey Sachs, Penguin, 2005.

From Publishers Weekly:
Over 18 chapters, Sachs builds his case carefully, offering a variety of case studies, detailing small-scale projects that have worked and crunching large amounts of data. His basic argument is that "[W]hen the preconditions of basic infrastructure (roads, power, and ports) and human capital (health and education) are in place, markets are powerful engines of development." In order to tread "the path to peace and prosperity," Sachs believes it is encumbant upon successful market economies to bring the few areas of the world that still need help onto "the ladder of development." If there is any one work to put extreme poverty back onto the global agenda, this is it. (Mar 21).

Ending Global Poverty: A Guide to What Works, Stephen C. Smith, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005,

"We have an opportunity, in this generation, to reduce global poverty, both through acts of charity and by working as citizens to influence public policy. Stephen Smith offers reliable information, stories of success, and good advice on how to get personally involved in this important fight. Read it, and then take action. " --David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World



What One Person Can Do, Sabina Alkire, Church Publishing, 2005.

What Can One Person Do? confronts a poverty-stricken world, and with clarity of purpose offers practical steps to create lasting change.


Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, Muhammad Yunus, Public Affairs, 2003.

It began with a simple $27 loan. After witnessing the cycle of poverty that kept many poor women enslaved to high-interest loan sharks in Bangladesh, Dr. Muhammad Yunus lent money to 42 women so they could purchase bamboo to make and sell stools. In a short time, the women were able to repay the loans while continuing to support themselves and their families. With that initial eye-opening success, the seeds of the Grameen Bank, and the concept of microcredit, were planted.

On the AIDS crisis in Africa:

A Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa (CBC Massey Lecture) Stephen Lewis, 2006, House of Anansi Press

"We have an opportunity, in this generation, to reduce global poverty, both through acts of charity and by working as citizens to influence public policy. Stephen Smith offers reliable information, stories of success, and good advice on how to get personally involved in this important fight. Read it, and then take action. " --David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World

28 Stories of AIDS in Africa, Stephanie Nolen, Walker Publishing Company, 2007.

From Booklist:
Nolen puts a very human face on HIV/AIDS in Africa, verbally and visually. A photograph accompanies each of the book's 28 personal histories (one subject stands for one million infected people in sub-Saharan Africa). The faces in the photos appear no different than faces of everyday Americans, but that appearance belies the horrific reality of lives shredded by devastating disease.

There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children, Melissa Fay Greene, Bloomsbury, 2006.

From Publishers Weekly:
Not unlike the AIDS pandemic itself, the odyssey of Haregewoin Teferra, who took in AIDS orphans, began in small stages and grew to irrevocably transform her life from that of "a nice neighborhood lady" to a figure of fame, infamy and ultimate restoration. In telling her story, journalist Greene who had adopted two Ethiopian children before meeting Teferra, juggles political history, medical reportage and personal memoir.

On African Politics:

The Fate of Africa, Martin Meredith, Public Affairs, 2005.

From Booklist:
Meredith is a journalist, biographer, and historian who has written extensively on modern African history. His massive but very readable examination of African history over the past century unfolds like a drawn-out tragedy. Of course, the arrogance and ignorance of European masters planted the seeds of many of Africa's current problems. But Meredith refuses to let Africans off the hook for the endemic violence, corruption, and political repression that plague so many African states. While he pays tribute to icons like Mandela and Senghor, his contempt for the venality and worship of power that has characterized so many leaders from Nasser to Mugabe is palatable and justified by extensive documentation.

Long Way Gone: Memoirs of A Boy Soldier, Ishmael Beah, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

From Publishers Weekly:
This absorbing account by a young man who, as a boy of 12, gets swept up in Sierra Leone's civil war goes beyond even the best journalistic efforts in revealing the life and mind of a child abducted into the horrors of warfare. Beah's harrowing journey transforms him overnight from a child enthralled by American hip-hop music and dance to an internal refugee bereft of family, wandering from village to village in a country grown deeply divided by the indiscriminate atrocities of unruly, sociopathic rebel and army forces....Told in clear, accessible language by a young writer with a gifted literary voice, this memoir seems destined to become a classic firsthand account of war and the ongoing plight of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide. (Feb.)

4 comments:

bloglily said...

Thank you, Cam. Many of these sound like required reading. And what a valuable resource, to have a list like this.

Cam said...

BL: This is only a brief list -- there is much more out there. I definitely think that Sachs' book should be required reading -- even if you don't agree with him, you should understand his position. Lewis' book addresses the issues from more of a political position, rather than an economic one, and it likewise required reading. Sachs is more optimistic; Lewis is more condemning -- damning -- of the West's inaction.

Emily Barton said...

Thank you. Now I have some great books to recommend we read at church. What One Person Can Do seems like a good one to read with the teens.

Cam said...

Emily, What One Person Can Do is an excellent resource for outreach ministries/committees. It is more hands-on, so I'd recommend it for a Youth Group if they were looking for a project -- maybe as a followup book, but in terms of awareness, there are probably better choices that would engage a teenager, especially in terms of video. Email me privately if you'd like some specific source, urls, etc.

I read Sach's book for an adult book discussion at my church. It was an interesting discussion.