The Rift Book Summary - The Rift Book explained in key points
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The Rift summary

Alex Perry

A New Africa Breaks Free

4.3 (72 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

The Rift by Alex Perry is a non-fiction book that explores the complex history, politics and culture of Africa's Great Rift Valley. It provides a comprehensive view on how the valley’s people have coped with ethnic, political and environmental changes.

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    The Rift
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    The West’s own political interests get in the way when it comes to helping Africa.

    Anyone who pays close attention to international news and history knows that Africa has seen more than its fair share of war and famine. But even if you’re aware of the turmoil in Africa, you might have missed the news reports in July, 2011, when southern Somalia suffered one of the worst famines in its history.

    That month, nearly three million starving refugees poured into Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, hoping to receive emergency aid from the UN. Over the course of the year, 300,000 of them died; the majority of the casualties were children and elderly people.

    Many didn’t even survive the journey: Khalima Adan, a 38-year-old woman, lost three of her nine children during the long trip to Mogadishu from the countryside. When the author met Khalima, her 7-year-old son Umar had just died in her arms, and she didn’t even have the strength to cry or grieve.

    Given that efficient foreign aid could have saved thousands of lives, you might be wondering how we can allow tragedies like this to occur.

    Sadly, the West, occupied with its own political interests and the war on terror, often fails to help Africa.

    In fact, according to Tony Burns, an Australian aid worker on site in Mogadishu, the United States deliberately blocked all aid to southern Somalia during the famine, despite the pleas coming from humanitarian agencies.

    The United States denied aid in large part because of a group known as Al-Shabab, which is regarded as an enemy in the war on terror. Al-Shabab was active in the area and they had been known to intercept, tax and steal some of the incoming aid money.

    However, by being more concerned with Al-Shabab and the war on terror, the United States ushered thousands of Somalis to their graves.

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    What is The Rift about?

    The Rift (2015) is a revealing look at Africa’s emergence as a continent no longer defined by poverty, war, corruption and dependence on the West. Find out how modern farming methods, solar and mobile technologies and new leadership are creating a brighter future for Africa.

    The Rift Review

    The Rift by Alex Perry (2017) is a gripping account of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea and why it matters to the world. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • It offers a profound analysis of the complex historical and political factors that led to the war, providing a deep understanding of the region's dynamics.
    • Through vivid storytelling and firsthand interviews with key players, the book brings the conflict to life, making it both informative and engaging.
    • By delving into the human stories of the people affected by the war, the book not only informs but also sparks empathy and emotional connection.

    Best quote from The Rift

    US policy is no food or resources to southern Somalia. The famine is proof of their success. - Tony Burns

    —Alex Perry
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    Who should read The Rift?

    • Investors looking for new opportunities in Africa
    • Those dubious of the idea that Africa is only about war and famine

    About the Author

    Alex Perry, a reporter for Time and Newsweek, has traveled extensively in Africa and Asia for the past 15 years. He shares his specialized knowledge about lesser-known parts of the world in his books, which include Falling Off the Edge and Lifeblood.

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    The Rift FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Rift?

    The main message of The Rift is the environmental impact of Japan's 2011 tsunami and the lessons learned from it.

    How long does it take to read The Rift?

    The reading time for The Rift varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is The Rift a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Rift is worth reading for its gripping storytelling and insightful exploration of a natural disaster's aftermath.

    Who is the author of The Rift?

    The author of The Rift is Alex Perry.

    What to read after The Rift?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Rift, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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