Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa

Out Of America A Black Man Confronts Africa Keith B Richburg was an experienced and respected reporter who had paid his dues covering urban neighborhoods in Washington D C and won praise for his coverage of Southeast Asia But nothing prepared h

  • Title: Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa
  • Author: Keith B. Richburg
  • ISBN: 9780465001873
  • Page: 421
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Keith B Richburg was an experienced and respected reporter who had paid his dues covering urban neighborhoods in Washington D.C and won praise for his coverage of Southeast Asia But nothing prepared him for the personal odyssey that he would embark upon when he was assigned to cover Africa.In this powerful book, Richburg takes the reader on an extraordinary journey thaKeith B Richburg was an experienced and respected reporter who had paid his dues covering urban neighborhoods in Washington D.C and won praise for his coverage of Southeast Asia But nothing prepared him for the personal odyssey that he would embark upon when he was assigned to cover Africa.In this powerful book, Richburg takes the reader on an extraordinary journey that sweeps from Somalia to Rwanda to Zaire and finally to South Africa He shows how he came to terms with the divide within himself between his African racial heritage and his American cultural identity.Are these really my people Am I truly an African American The answer, Richburg finds, after much soul searching, is that no, he is not an African, but an American first and foremost To those who romanticize Mother Africa as a black Valhalla, where blacks can walk with dignity and pride, he regrets that this is not the reality He has been there and witnessed the killings, the repression, the false promises, and the horror Thank God my nameless ancestor, brought across the ocean in chains and leg irons, made it out alive, he concludes Thank God I am an American.

    One thought on “Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa”

    1. The author reminds of me of that friend you have who you can always rely on for a blunt and honest opinion-the one who would have no problem telling you that your ass looked fat in those jeans-and would probably not give a damn if anyone opposed what she said. So, while I'm not trying to equate opinions about political and social upheaval in Africa to unflattering denim, I can definitely say that Keith Richburg was going out on a limb by writing this very candid account of his experience in Afri [...]

    2. I remember hearing about this book in the 90's and all the heat that the author took over it from pseudo black nationalists and white liberals. The writer stood his ground instead of backing down and I think I even remember him saying "thank God for slavery!" in an interview when reflecting on his time in Africa, which of course further added fuel to the fire. After all these years I've only just recently gotten around to reading it. I expected this to be good but I would have to put up with Ric [...]

    3. It's difficult to sum up the impressions after this book, as there are so many themes worthy of exploring, most of which I don't know much about. The experience of being African-American, or *black American*, as the author would insist upon, of living in Africa for three-four years covering incredibly brutal (un)civil wars as in Somalia, Rwanda and Liberia, visiting South Africa just before the 1994 elections somehow his disillusionment reminds me of a Romanian friend who had lived in Germany fo [...]

    4. This book really made me mad. Richburg purports to tackle the whole "African American and continental African relationships" issue, but what he really ends up doing is reinscribing unequal power relations between the two groups. He uses his experience as a reporter in Africa for many years as leverage for his "expert" perspective, but I saw no such dedication to difficult investigation here. Richburg includes almost no African history in his account. The colonial and neo-colonial history of the [...]

    5. 5 stars supposedly means "I loved it." Well that's a hard thing to say about this book because that sounds too trite. It's an extraordinary work of journalism and was a real eye-opener for me. It is hard to read at times because of the violence, harshness and cruelty depicted. Yet Richburg lived through these nightmares. His perspective, as a black man, is invaluable. But I wonder if my positive reaction to his book is just a sigh of relief - a "permission" to feel racist? A very thought-provoki [...]

    6. I was awed by the courage of the author to stand up to the stereotypes of the African Homeland. I wish America didn't have so far to go in becoming a truely integrated society, but I also think he is right that we need to realize how far we have come and how much better it is here than in Africa. The book is a bit repetitive and bitter in parts, but I found it insightful and brutally honest. I only wish there was a newer version with more recent history.

    7. Out Of America is a non-fiction book telling about a black American man who learned that he would rather call himself as an American, than to define himself by his race. This happened during Mr. Richburg's depressing tour of duty of his job in Africa as a reporter for The Washington Post. While he was there, he saw the chaos of Africa. Shootings, murders,and wars. He even saw that Africa was infested with AIDS. It showed that the continent had no good future ahead. Keith originally came expectin [...]

    8. this is basically a long journalistic essay about a black american reporter's experiences reporting from africa. he witnessed a lot of atrocities, and a few non-horrific events, during the early '90s: starvation in somalia, genocide in rwanda, many stolen elections, and the end of apartheid in south africa. his conclusion? that he's lucky his ancestors were stolen and sent to america to be slaves. needless to say, this caused a lot of controversy at the time. his point of view is that the afroce [...]

    9. The author gives a stunning view of Africa, country by country, culture by culture. I felt sad for this continent burdened with generations of fraud, corruption, abuse, and seeming apathy. It makes me marvel even more at the loving spirit of the Lost Boys and for a leader like Nelson Mandela who live to create a new home land. This book will stay with me for a very long time.

    10. A black child from Detroit becomes the Washington Post bureau chief for the entire continent of Africa and takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of personal experiences/conflicts. Well written and one I really enjoyed reading.

    11. First - an interesting examination of a personal journey by an African-American to see the differences between his own experience versus his perceptions of being of African descent.Second - a brutally detailed and personal look at the civil war in Rwanda

    12. Compelling, this book opened my eyes. It is a more serious read written by a journalist looking for roots in Africa but ends up appreciating his own country, America more than he realized he could. Frankly parts of this book will make you sick but

    13. This was an excellent read,though so tragic what has transpired inAfrica.Richburg doesn't pull any punches on what he witnessed.Not a book for the afrocentric folks.

    14. PoinientMr. Richburg's experiences in Africa and America showed the disconnect between the rheotic of the elites and realities of life. Many people, come with good intentions, paint a picture of Africa that is incorrect to uplift the black American. The author correctly asserts that blacks should focus on the American culture and improving our standing here rather than lying about a utopian Africa. I enjoyed his book.

    15. Wow, that was a difficult read. I can't believe people are currently living in those conditions. I learned a lot, but, it's grim. So grateful for journalists who put themselves in harm's way to report what's happening across the globe.

    16. It's all about context, right? Much of Richburg's time in Africa was covering conflict in some of the poorest countries in the world so of course it's going to shape his view and experiences. I have family and friends from the continent, as well as many who live there and it's not all doom and gloom. While I do appreciate his honest feelings and many of his insights, this is one man's experience, framed by his world view and upbringing. I spent many years in Detroit and I experienced many of his [...]

    17. This book was very interesting and insightful. In the beginning the author appears to be uncomfortable with his own being which made me a little uncomforable reading it, but I wanted to get his perspective on who he is as a black man in America. I was surprised that he shared so much of the implicit details of the black community in America (not all, but some), can be divided along the shades of blackness and class lines. I had to laugh reading that because if you live on the same block as the p [...]

    18. I don't know how I missed this book all these years, but I am very grateful that I have finally read it. This is one of the most honest looks at Africa as a whole and many of her horrors individually that I think I have ever read. I cannot imagine the personal turmoil the author experienced day after day as he traveled through the worst Africa had to offer. What an utter nightmare for so many reasons - emotional, moral, ethical etc. If it weren't for the video and photos of the very events the a [...]

    19. An excellent, simple story. The author is a black American journalist who is no particular fan of the United States, who considers the nation rife with racism, who refuses to pretend racism no longer exists or that children of all races face equal opportunities. He is a journalist, after all, accustomed to finding scandal and corruption under every rock. Then he spends years as a correspondent in various African nations, and confronts an interesting question: Would I, as a black American, have b [...]

    20. A politically incorrect view of Africa and its ills that should be read by everyone, whether left, right, or center. Richburg's argument would have been stronger if he had reflected more on what it was like to grow up black in America, especially internalized racism, for that would only have emphasized the clear, understandable, and moral outrage about the violence, corruption, and exploitation that is part and parcel of life in Africa, at least in the 1990's. I did not read the edition with the [...]

    21. Its a bit difficult to write a review for me personally without getting emotional. The book is interesting, not in that it adds anything new to the discussion on Africa (which it doesn't) but in that it gives a more concise view of the general world's perception of Afrika. Apart from spelling errors and a completely biased view of the continent from an individual who only spent 3years on the continent, the book is as shallow as it is full of dogma. I do not regret reading it merely as an explora [...]

    22. The author was the African bureau chief for the Washington Post in the early 90's. He witnessed many difficult wars, famines, murders, and the like in his travels across the continent. The book is his reminesces about his journeys, but it has an undertone of bitterness throughout. He makes it clear that he is an American, not an African American, and thanks God that his ancestors were dragged across the ocean to America. Despite the tone, I still recommend this book. His discussion of various so [...]

    23. This book makes no apologies: It is one person’s view of Africa, and also of America, based on a three year assignment there for his newspaper, the influential Washington Post. It paints a bleak picture and unremitting gloom. Yet is realistic. And also deals with the author’s problems being a black man in a black land. This is an outstanding book, a personal memoir that translates into universal truths.

    24. A fascinating book about the culture clash between a black American journalist (since his stint in Africa, the author eschews the term "African-American") and sub-Saharan Africa. Richburg worked as the Washington Post Africa bureau chief in the early 1990s. He expected his experience to unfold one way, but circumstances turned out quite differently. Although 20-25 years ago, the scenario of African politics unfortunately remains much the same. The names are different, but not much else.

    25. Lots of information and I expect overwhelming for someone that has never visited/lived on the continent. For the most parts/events the author is brutally honest. Unfortunately the book reads like a journal and is not that well written. I was even bored at the end and just wanted to finish it. No real insight.

    26. Richburg became a Africa bureau chief for the Washington Post, and in this work chronicles his horrified experience there--as a black man from America. The memoir is gripping and almost impossible to put down. He concludes that the modern American descendants of west African slaves inherited a massive blessing, despite its short-comings, through the sufferings of their ancestors.

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