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Book Reviews
The Tragedy of Madagascar
By: Nathaniel Adams - Chronos Books, $29.95

Description: The Tragedy of Madagascar by Nathaniel Adams, is a fascinating and well-researched book about one of the most neglected and puzzling countries in the world.

Verdict: Why has Madagascar failed to make any meaningful progress since independence?

A mix of journalism and scholarship, the book is the result of almost nine months spent on the ground in Madagascar traveling and interviewing a wide range of political leaders at the national and local levels, including an unprecedented interview with the country’s former president, Marc Ravalomanana.

The book takes as its point of departure the military coup in 2009 that replaced Ravalomanana with Andry Rajoelina, and all of the negative aftershocks that followed, as well as including chapters on the bleak economic prospects of young people across the island, the unsustainable population growth that threatens so much of its future and a unique chapter on the effects of climate change on the southern region of Madagascar, where worsening droughts have left millions in humanitarian peril.

In what is an admittedly hefty book, in both weight and subject matter, and running at 371 pages, The Tragedy of Madagascar: An Island Nation Confronts the 21st Century is, in my humble opinion, not a book you read before you go to bed, or settle in with outside on a hot summers day.

No, for me it begs to have your full attention, not a sleepy head read to nod off, nor a summer shandy drinker on the patio, for even if this is built for a long afternoon spent in on, perhaps even, a wet Sunday afternoon, it is at that very time you will become fully connected with what it is author Nathaniel Adams has oh-so masterfully, and delicately, yet intricately and heartfeltly put on paper to bring to you.

Madagascar is the world’s fifth largest island, situated in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southern Africa. Despite considerable natural resources, however, its population of about 28 million has one of the world’s highest poverty rates.

Indeed, as we quickly learn, development prospects in Madagascar continue to be hampered by the country’s low growth potential and its exposure to frequent, deep, and persistent crises.

In fact, growth averaged about 3.5% a year in the years between the country’s return to constitutional order in 2013 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

However, it was followed by a recession about three times deeper than in most of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, with the sharp contraction of minus 7.1% in the economy due to the economic impact of pandemic closures on Madagascar’s mining, tourism, transport, and service sectors, and to the impact of drought and livestock disease on agriculture in the South.

As a result, the COVID-19 crisis reversed more than a decade of gains in income per capita and pushed the poverty rate to a new record high of 81% (measured against the international poverty line of $2.15/capita/day). The crisis was compounded in the South of Madagascar by historic droughts that led to widespread crop failure, growing food insecurity, and internal migration.

In closing, one of the things I soon noticed, was that as you read along, from the very off, waiting for the General, you immediately get wholly immersed in all the well-written, articulate and scene-building prose, as if you yourself were sitting alongside both Adams and the characters he was walking and talking with.

About the Author - Nathaniel Adams is an attorney in the United States who has traveled to over 25 developing countries to pursue various business and personal interests. He spent over eight months in Madagascar in 2019 researching this book, his first. He lives in Hudson, OH.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





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