Tragedy of Madagascar, The
A fascinating and well-researched book about one of the most neglected and puzzling countries in the world.
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 travelling 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.
Click on the circles below to see more reviews
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. 'The Tragedy of Madagascar: An Island Nation Confronts the 21st Century' by Nathaniel Adams offers an unparalleled and thrillingly bold examination of the island's past, present, and future. Benefiting from many years living in real Madagascar, not the fictional jungle from the cartoon, reading extensively on the subjects of climate change and overpopulation, and conducting interviews with locals, Nathaniel Adams has put together brutally honest research on the roots of Madagascar's problems. Madagascar isn't a fully developed democracy despite 80 years of independence: political unrest, exploding from time to time into political coups, and corruption suppress the country's development. It hasn't chosen a side economically, allying itself with other African countries, Arabian countries around the Persian Gulf, or other islands of the Indian Ocean. Madagascar is considered one of the poorest countries in the world, with 80% of the population living in extreme poverty. I strongly recommend 'The Tragedy of Madagascar' for its thoroughness. It isn't a glossy tourist guide; it's riddled with statistical data. While the book's first chapters focus on Madagascar's past, other chapters explore climate change's economic and political consequences. Moreover, the author examines overpopulation, an often overlooked future problem. Combined with a poverty trap, these two factors eat out all the progress Madagascar (generally, all of sub-Saharan Africa) could achieve. The book ended in the first months of the pandemic when Andry Rajoelina proclaimed Madagascar had found a herbal cure for Covid-19. Seeing constantly World Food Program's pleas for help for malnourished children, I may assume that things haven't changed in the last two years. ~ Darya Silman (Reviewer), NetGalley
The Tragedy of Madagascar is a must read for anyone who cares about the fascinating, beguiling, maddening red island off the coast of Africa - or for anyone who wonders why so many forgotten, seemingly invisible people are trapped in poverty across the globe. With a sharp eye for detail, analysis, and storytelling, Adams is an expert guide who brings the island to life. There are few books about Madagascar, and this one will quickly become the go-to book to understand the island's history, its politics, and its depressing trajectory. A fascinating, well-written read. ~ Brian Klaas, Washington Post columnist and author of The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy
Adams's book is incredibly insightful and will be valuable for Malagasy leaders, its people, and the international community. It is well-written and well-researched, provides an in-depth picture of modern Madagascar, and is a wonderful contribution to the historical literature of the country. It sheds new light on the progress of democracy in a developing country and the responsibilities of our leaders and the Western countries. A great read for anyone interested in Madagascar's past and its future. ~ Monja Roindefo Zafitsimivalo, Former Prime Minister of Madagascar
The South of Madagascar has been struggling for years to find enough water to feed all of the people in the region. In his new book about the island, Nathaniel Adams has written an important chapter about climate change in the Great South, one that beautifully tells the stories of the millions of people here trying to survive in an unforgiving land. ~ Vital Batubilema, UN World Food Program, Madagascar