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Africa's Freedom Railway: Chinese Development Project in Tanzania
Jamie Monson
Indiana U Press
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Date Listed:
2009-06-15 16:59:46
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Africa's Freedom Railway
How a Chinese Development Project Changed Lives and Livelihoods in Tanzania

By Stephen G. McShane and Gary S. Wilk.

Cloth with dust jacket, 216 pages, 17 b&w photos, 4 figures, 2 maps, 6.125x9.25.

"A masterful history of the construction and impact of rail power in Africa.

"An extremely nuanced and textured history of negotiated interests that includes international stakeholders, local actors, and—importantly—early Chinese policies of development assistance." —James McCann, Boston University

"Blessedly economical and unpretentious . . . no one else is capable of writing about this region with such nuance." —James Giblin, University of Iowa

"The TAZARA (Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority) or Freedom Railway stretches from Dar es Salaam on the Tanzanian coast to the Copperbelt region of Zambia. The railway, built during the height of the Cold War, was intended to redirect the mineral wealth of the interior away from routes through South Africa and Rhodesia. After being rebuffed by Western donors, newly independent Tanzania and Zambia accepted help from communist China to construct what would become one of Africa's most vital transportation corridors.

"Drawing on first-hand experiences of engineers and laborers together with life histories of traders who used the railway, Jamie Monson tracks the railroad from its design and construction to its daily use as a passenger train that provided an important means for moving people and goods from one village to another. This engaging history reveals how transnational interests contributed to environmental change, population movements, the rise of local and regional economic enterprise, and one of the most sweeping development transitions in post-colonial Africa.

"Jamie Monson is Professor of History at Carleton College. She is author of Women as Food Producers in Developing Countries."

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Part 1. Freedom Railway
2. Railway Visions
3. Building the People's Railway
4. Living along the Railway

Part 2. Ordinary Train
5. The Ordinary Train
6. Landscape Visions
7. Conclusion

Appendix 1. Eight Principles Governing China's Economic and Technical Aid to Other Countries
Appendix 2. Parcel Shipments to and from Selected Rail Stations
Appendix 3. Land Cover Change, Kilombero Valley Study Area