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Publisher's Summary

The trade in oil, gas, gems, metals, and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China, and the other "emerging markets" have transformed their economies, Africa's resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 percent of the world's reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 percent of the world's population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent.

In his first book, The Looting Machine, Tom Burgis exposes the truth about the African development miracle: for the resource states, it's a mirage. The oil, copper, diamonds, gold, and coltan deposits attract a global network of traders, bankers, corporate extractors, and investors who combine with venal political cabals to loot the states' value. And the vagaries of resource-dependent economies could pitch Africa's new middle class back into destitution just as quickly as they climbed out of it. The ground beneath their feet is as precarious as a Congolese mine shaft; their prosperity could spill away like crude from a busted pipeline.

This catastrophic social disintegration is not merely a continuation of Africa's past as a colonial victim. The looting now is accelerating as never before. As global demand for Africa's resources rises, a handful of Africans are becoming legitimately rich, but the vast majority, like the continent as a whole, is being fleeced. Outsiders tend to think of Africa as a great drain of philanthropy. But look more closely at the resource industry, and the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world looks rather different.

©2015 Tom Burgis (P)2015 Gildan Media LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Indispensable reading

This is one of those rare books that can change so much about how you think about a topic as complex as Africa. Burgis did an excellent job of covering a broad swath of the continent without falling in to the usual traps of stereotypes and overs simplification that plague so many other authors. His insights on Sam Pa and the growing Chinese role in the "Looting Machine" was particularly interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Insightful But...

Fairly insightful as to the connections between warlords, cleptocracts, and corporations, but I don't think you can get the full perspective on the problems of Africa without going deeper, ie colonialism. It does help to rationalize much of today's news about the continent however. Check it out as I did but I'm definitely looking for more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The history of corruption.

This books appears to explain many of the problems of developing nations. Well written and narrated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very, very good

The content of the book was very well researched and it was written with good clarity and conciseness.
I was really surprised with the author's sharing in the beginning of the book of the emotional toll his time in Africa took on him.
I looked up many facts he describes here and they are accurately used.
The reader is also very nice. Good quality audio with clear speech and precise dictation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A good overview of african continent history

The book start after the independence of most african countries and describe how corporate and warlord control africa's wealth and destiny.

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  • Scott
  • Santa Clara, CA, United States
  • 07-29-18

Frightening, Fascinating, Fatiguing

When Tom Burgis tells us, at the start of this book, how he suffered a nervous breakdown, it's easy to see why. The sheer magnitude and hopelessness of the problem in Africa is almost beyond imagining.
This is an important book. One with which college students should be familiar. The wealth we enjoy is purchased on the misery of millions of Africans, and most of us remain blissfully unaware, if not totally unfeeling.
I had to take this book in pieces, it's so powerfully overwhelming. It has left me hating a system over which it seems I have no control whatever. Still, I'm glad to know the truth of it.
Listen to this book. Grover Gardner is the best narrator one can imagine, and the subject matter is of the utmost importance.

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The unbelievable Africa wealth story

I've spent a lifetime loving all things Africa. This book points out just how off the mark I am. Africa and poverty are contradictions that becomes clear after reading Tom Burgis brilliant and brave book.

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informative

the book was very detailed and clear. liked the depth of back ground information alot

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Interesting but repetative

Theme of corruption gets repetitive, but still an interesting listen. I learned a lot about Africa I did not know before.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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interesting but muddled

great narrator, interesting story, blames oil and mineral companies for intentionally looting africa but treats african politicians who squander community aid money from those same oil and mineral cos as victims of their own circumstance