Current books about Africa are legion, but the attempt to convey in any sort of immediate, personal terms what Africans themselves need and want -- as opposed to what we may like to think they ought to have--is so rare that Mr. Hapgood's runs directly counter to most prevalent ""informed"" opinions. He and his wife lived and travelled throughout the continent for two years, with their children, and while he is well aware of the dangers of generalization, his at least rest firmly upon what they themselves actually saw. His emphasis is not strictly political, but rather cultural and economic. Thus, he can point out the likelihood that Africa ""will go directly from the underemployment of an agricultural economy to the unemployment of automation,"" and then, instead of predicting from U.S., European, or Marxist experience, will suggest that perhaps the traditional African extended family system ""may be far more rational in an automated society than is our own."" Like Japan, Africa might be able to accept our technology without the ideological baggage, and to ""weave new patterns without destroying its social fabric."" All this is certainly distant from the present situation, but as a model it seems far better than any other yet provided.