The first volume of Understanding Africa gave background to European discovery of the continent of Africa, and their intrusion. This volume covers examples in many areas of endeavour where incompetence, poor education and greed all add to the failure of the continent to join the Asian states in moving into the modern world. Chapters cover factors such as land use, belief systems (that frequently override modern scientific practise)and corruption. For those wanting to work in Africa for aid organisations or resources companies these books serve as useful primers in what to expect. The African refusal to appreciate the implications of the HIV/AIDS infections are made clear here. Democratic activists will learn about the African 'Big Man' syndrome and the way dictators cling to power decade after decade. Examples of small measures to assist the less fortunate also hold out hope that a new breed of leader will emerge.