Robert Calderisi © 2013  |  All Rights Reserved

Reviews of The Trouble with Africa

"Equally at home in Ouagadougou or Washington, Mr. Calderisi’s [book] is a fluent, deeply personal account of how aid has failed Africa, and how Africa, so often, has managed to fail itself. One of the best books of the year."--The Economist

Robert Calderisi, a humanitarian who has had plenty of experience in Africa...and a few other authors are shaking up the aid establishment and making us all think about what works and what does not. That’s painful, but also essential.--New York Review of Books

A personal narrative of engagement with a beguiling but maddening continent, avoiding the familiar positions among old African hands of either expressing contempt of excusing failure.--The Financial Times (London)

Mr. Calderisi...clearly admires the drive and initiative of Africans freed of the disincentives he so well analyzes.-- The Wall Street Journal

Calderisi is excellent company on the page. His life circumstances humanize him and help explain his emotional links with Africa. They also help relieve his grim account of the compounding man-made disasters afflicting the continent.-- The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

This book should be in every academic library in this country -- and every library in Africa.-- Library Journal (US)

A breathless tour across a continent four times the size of the United States. Calderisi’s human touch draws the reader through...-- Foreign Service Journal (US)

His views may shock but they are well laid out... No one can deny his deep knowledge of Africa and his honest desire to contribute to its development. His book is bursting with anecdotes of African life which force us to look at the continent through new eyes.-- Le Devoir (Montreal)

Sympathetically done... His respectful affection shines through.-- The Vancouver Sun (Canada)

A refreshing, courageous and honest book. Most importantly, he avoids the mistake of many Westerners who are afraid of sounding racist if they write plainly about Africa’s failures.-- Andrew M. Mwenda, Political Editor, The Monitor (Kampala, Uganda)

A stimulating contrarian essay... His cogent argument is an important addition to the conversation over Africa’s future.-- Publishers Weekly (US)

A boisterous, entertaining and highly accessible polemic... The author challenges the shibboleths of the aid industry with courage, compassion and humour.-- Michela Wrong, Author of the best-selling In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo.

His book bristles with unpleasant truths. Offers a new approach to Africa.-- The American Spectator

A brilliant, striking book.-- The Irish Times

This is an unusual book -- informative, provocative, sobering and inspiring. It sparkles with good stories and ideas, and shines a new light on facts and controversies which affect Africa still.-- Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada (2003-2006)

The author’s love of the continent shines through every line, yet his bold suggestions will raise some eyebrows and provoke debate (as they should). The book ripples with good stories, mixes passion and reason, and is very often simply touching.-- Baroness Lynda Chalker, former UK Overseas Development Minister

A hard-hitting, brutally honest personal essay about Africa. It is gripping, well-researched and fascinating. Corrupt and incompetent African government officials will fret over this but it is the bitter truth the African people would want told to the world.-- George B.N. Ayittey, Ph.D., Distinguished Economist at American University and President of The Free Africa Foundation, both in Washington, DC.

A provocative and engaging look at problems of development in Africa. Everyone who cares about the continent will find ample room for thought...-- Joseph O’Neill, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (2002-2005)

This book is a ‘must read’ for anyone seriously interested in Africa. Well written, provocative and challenging, it deserves serious consideration by those seeking innovative solutions to Africa’s problems. Some of its judgments are sharp, but so are its insights and recommendations.-- Julius E. Coles, President of Africare, a leading non-profit organization serving Africa. The heartfelt cry of a lover of Africa... He was not born one, but he is nonetheless a great 'African'.-- Martin Ziguélé, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic (2001-2003) and runner-up in the March-April 2005 presidential elections.

Refreshingly honest and well-written... More than that, it might just be the most important book written about Africa in years. Calderisi’s suggestions are so straight forward and plausible that most people will wonder why it has taken two generations for anyone to suggest them.-- African Update

A trenchant critique of the international aid industry.-- The Africa Report

This will become a landmark work for my generation - as important as De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America for 19th century Europeans.-- Martial Ahipeaud, former President of the National Union of Students of the Ivory Coast, and now a political exile in the United Kingdom

Filled with rich anecdotes and insights of a reformer who has not only spent time with ministers and heads of state but also with farmers and street boys and urban families in the slums struggling to afford school fees for their children. Will continue to frame the debate for Africa’s future.-- Africa Policy Journal (Harvard University)

Excellent. Well-documented.-- The Washington Times

An insider’s view of Africa.-- Across the Board (US Conference Board magazine)

Essential reading for anyone who still believes that Africa’s problems are mostly the West’s fault.-- Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail

Sympathetic but forthright.-- Financial Mail (South Africa)

Calderisi knows what he is talking about. But, rather than just criticizing, he offers a ray of hope, assessing the past but charting new directions for the future -- with prudence and without illusions.-- Le Libraire (Quebec)

Remarkably honest, tough, and accessible. Lively, informative reading. Highly recommended.-- American Library Association
The author displays a great knowledge of Africa... but is not despondent about its future, seeing a ‘new day’ dawning in the young people he has met almost everywhere.-- Le Quotidien Mutations (Cameroon)

A work of incredible intellectual honesty. This book should be read by anyone going to Africa for the first time, and even those who think they know the subject inside out.-- Pierre Bourque, Mayor of Montreal (1994-2001)

An unflinching personal essay by someone who has witnessed dictatorships in all their brutality.-- The Edmonton Journal (Canada)

A seasoned observer, Calderisi explains simply and vividly why Africa has failed to take off. This is a rare book.-- Culture Hebdo (Quebec)

Calderisi talks sense, some of it uncomfortable. Highly recommended.-- Tonight (South Africa)

Thought provoking.-- Le Canada Français (Quebec)

Interesting and insightful.-- The Upstream Journal (Social Justice Committee, Montreal)