Excellent, penetrating, moving. Dowden was the Africa editor at the Economist and he has lived and worked in the continent for the whole of his adult life. The stories he tells of countries such as Uganda, Somalia and Kenya reveal once again how diverse this continent is and how totally it has been ruined by colonialisation and the subsequent antics of Western powers. One anecdote sprang out at me: in Black Hawk Down, the Hollywood version of the misguided blundering attempt by US forces to kidnap a Somali warlord, the American soldiers are depicted as putting themselves at risk in order to protect women and children caught in the cross fire. In reality they used them as human shields.