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Synopsis

Tucked away in a remote part of Africa, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso, three of the world's poorest countries, are in the throes of great upheaval. Globalisation has shown their people that a more comfortable life is possible, but as they strive to attain it, climate change, the population boom, the tyrants of the old guard and the firm grip of tradition block their way.

The clash between old and new is explosive. Civil wars erupt without warning, with drugged up rebels fighting over blood diamonds, gold or a humble bowl of rice. Al Qaeda has set up camp in Burkina Faso. Colombian drug gangs have overrun Guinea-Bissau. Christian and Muslim fanatics battle for African souls, preparing their converts for Armageddon.

In The Ringtone and the Drum, Mark Weston dives into this maelstrom. In an often-unsettling adventure, he travels around the three countries and immerses himself in local life. Combining the remarkable stories of those he meets with his deep knowledge of Africa's development, the book sheds new light on a neglected corner of the globe.

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