In the ""Africa Today"" series, one of four new titles by Halliburton (along with African Wildlife; Celebrations of African Heritage; and Nomads of the Sahara)--a simplistic overview of Africa's long cultural heritage, the tragedy of the slave trade, the legacy of colonialism, and the problems of independence. The information here is not inaccurate, but it's presented in terms too general to convey much sense of the continent's rich diversity, even though the author tries conscientiously to sample contrasting personalities and events. Halliburton's awkward style and deliberately optimistic tone, however, lead to some egregious understatements, especially concerning the often-tragic recent history (""The tragedy of many of these coups is how little they have improved the lives of the people""). Captions are omitted for the many color photos (""The images...are meant to convey visually the spirit of the struggle""); the subjects are identified at the end, but that's far less satisfactory. Acceptable as an introductory survey. Glossary; index.