• The Fortunes of Africa

  • A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor
  • By: Martin Meredith
  • Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
  • Length: 26 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (228 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping history of the fortune seekers, adventurers, despots, and thieves who have ruthlessly endeavored to extract gold, diamonds, and other treasures from Africa and its people.

Africa has been coveted for its rich natural resources ever since the era of the pharaohs. In past centuries, it was the lure of gold, ivory, and slaves that drew merchant-adventurers and conquerors from afar. In modern times, the focus of attention is on oil, diamonds, and other rare earth minerals.

In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse of their future.

His cast of characters includes religious leaders, mining magnates, warlords, dictators, and many other legendary figures - among them Mansa Musa, ruler of the medieval Mali empire, said to be the richest man the world has ever known. 

©2014 Martin Meredith (P)2019 Hachette Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"A gripping tale of insatiable greed-personal and collective." (Booklist, starred review)

"[A] broad-ranging history of Africa from the age of the pharaohs to the present, with a solid emphasis on economics...richly detailed...a useful study." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Mr. Meredith artfully weaves together exploration, trade, and geography in a narrative that is both detailed and arresting....[He] leaves the reader bursting with a wealth of facts." (The Economist)

What listeners say about The Fortunes of Africa

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Fascinating, though terrible

This audio book was very difficult to understand. Not because it is confusing, but because I lacked even the basic knowledge of Africa's geography and history. The author cites locations, such as cities, regions and even countries that I simply never heard before, so I had to pause and check it out several times. Get at least one map before starting it.

The content is pretty fascinating. It seems like hearing a story about a fictional world, because of the many many completely new history info I never had before. I can't say I will remember names, dates, faces and places, but at least now I have a sense to what I see in the news. At least... Africa isn't just pictures of hungry children and dictators for me anymore.

#historyspoiler
But it is rough to listen. When the author says that Egypt would not be ruled by an Egyptian until the 20th century, things get soured. And it keeps get worse literally until the last paragraph. Be prepared to feel frustrated, angry, humiliated and useless.

11 people found this helpful

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VAST & WELL RESEARCHED

I kept listening and sometimes I repeated chapters just to make sure I heard right.
As an individual who hails from somewhere within the "boundaries of Nigeria" and who has interacted with individuals from other "distinctive appellations within AFRICA", I am pained by the enlightenment this book has bestowed upon me.
It is quite a book and I hope many will dare to turn its covers.
it tells the truth.

9 people found this helpful

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Sad when it ended. Truly amazing.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It left me with such a profound sadness at the end, not just that this book was ending, the narrator did an amazing job. Just the history, the hope that came from post colonial rule to where we are now is so utterly depressing. I am very happy to know this all now, do yourself a favor and listen to this, it should be mandatory reading for humanity.

8 people found this helpful

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Worthy of your time

Fast moving , would like more depth on tribalism., my only complaint. such rampant corruption it'll make you cry.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Full of information, sometimes disorganized

Great book for someone seeking a better understanding of colonialism, African history, early modern history and modern African instability and corruption.

Author often skips randomly from one topic to another though, which can be at times perplexing and unusual.

Overall though, impressive piece of literature spanning a long period. Happy to have had the fortune to purchase and listen to this.

The narrator is excellent.

5 people found this helpful

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Long, long better as a reference

This is a great work, but it’s so long and covers so much ground that I’d prefer it in book form where you can skip around and use as a reference rather than as a listen experience

4 people found this helpful

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A Hidden Gem for an Amateur History Scholar

I haven't even finished this book yet, but am rating because it is so well written and structured. Leopold was horrible.

1 person found this helpful

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Can't hear a sound

loved it but for some reason it stop working. i cant hear anything when i try to listen.

1 person found this helpful

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You will feel 5000 years old.

This book the narrator is very good and it tells you why we have different world. Why Africa is the way it is why Western country are richer than African countries. At the end you will understand that the author is saying Africa were better the colonial time than now. Which you will not agree.

1 person found this helpful

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History is actually a Hurtstory

King Leopold's Ghost - Adam Hochschild

Slavery by Another Name - Douglas A Blackmon

News for All the People - Juan Gonzalez & Joseph Torres

They call themselves the KKK - Susan C. Bartoletti

Black Ops Advertising - Mara Einstein

Death of a King - Tavis Smiley & David Ritz

High Price - Dr Carl Hart

Propaganda and the Public Mind - Damian Barsamian & Noam Chomsky

Behold A Pale Horse - Milton William Cooper

Where Do We Go From Here - MLK Jr

White Trash - Nancy Isenberg

The Man-Not - Tommy J. Curry

They Were Her Property - Stephanie Jones-Rogers

White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo

White Rage - Carol Anderson Ph.D

Stamped From The Beginning - Ibram X Kendi

The Half Has Never Been Told - Edward E Baptist

The Great Stain - Noel Rae

The Reckoning - Randall Robinson

The Accident of Color - Daniel Brook

Henry Ford And The Jews - Albert Lee

Beyond These Walls - Anthony M Platt

Sugar - James Walvin

Toussaint L'Ouverture - Phillip Girard

The Destruction of Black Civilization - Chancellor Williams

The Stolen Legacy - George G M James

Media Control - Noam Chomsky

To Be A Slave In Brazil - Katia M de Queiros Mattoso

Superior - Angela Saini

The Color of Law - Richard Rothstein

Red Summer - Cameron McWhirter

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa - Walter Rodney

The Crowd - Gustave Le Bon

The Condemnation of Blackness - Khalil Gibran Muhammad

The Empire of Necessity - Greg Grandin

They Came Before Columbus - Ivan Van Sertima

Germany's Black Holocaust - Firpo W Carr Ph.D

The Isis Papers - Dr Frances Cress Welsing

African Origin of Civilization - Cheikh Anta Diop

The Color of Compromise - Jemar Tisby

Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust - John Henrik Clarke

Christianity Before Christ - John G Jackson

Our African Unconscious - Edward Bruce Bynum

Blacked Out Through Whitewash - Dr Suzar Epps

War Against All Puerto Ricans - Nelson A Denis

War Is A Racket - Gen Smedley D Butler

The Delectable Negro - Vincent Woodard

Inhuman Bondage - David Brion Davis

Why Darkness Matters - Edward Bruce Bynum

The Iceman Inheritance - Michael Bradley

Unsettling Truths - Matt Charles & Soong-Chan Rah

Soul On Ice - Eldridge Cleaver

Black Like Me - John Howard Griffin

The Culture of Terrorism - Noam Chomsky

Silencing The Past - Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Faces At The Bottom Of The Well - Derrick Bell

Polaria - W H Muller

A Narco History - Carmen Boullosa & Mike Wallace

Dumbing Us Down - John Taylor Gatto

Across The Tracks - Alverne Bell & Stacey Robinson

The Burning - Tim Madigan

The Age ot Surveillance Capitalism , Shoshana Zuboff

Dirt - Terence P McLaughlin

Wilmington's Lie - David Zucchino

White Malice - Susan Williams

Shout out to....
Bro Panic
Dr Phil Valentine
Bro C. Freeman El
Dr Josef Ben-Jochannan
Amen Ra KamKam
Dr Khallid Muhammad
Dr Ann Brown
Dr Delbert Blair
Dr Timothy Owens Moore
Dr Malachi Z York
Dr Chancellor Williams
Jordan Maxwell
Dr Ivan Van Sertima
Richard D King MD
Rev Ray Hagins
Zoe Williams
Young Pharaoh
PapaDuck
Runoko Rashidi
Dr Walter Williams
Grand Sheik Taj Tarik Bey
Bill Donahue
Bobby Hemmitt
Cheikh Anta Diop
Shahrazad Ali