In the 1990s he covered Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda and the Congo for Reuters. Three of his colleagues were killed by a mob in Somolia during a rebellion against the presence of U.S. forces, and he witnessed the atrocities in Rwanda. Hartley grew up in Africa, the son of a British colonial officer. After the death of his father, Hartley found in a chest his father had given him the diaries of his father's best friend who had died mysteriously 50 years earlier. Hartley set out to find out what happened.
Harden was the bureau chief for the Washington Post in sub-Saharan Africa from 1985-1989. His new book, called Africa, talks about the continent's growing population, strong man rule, and how tribal and familial communities fill needs neglected by the government.
New Yorker staff writer Alex Shoumatoff has a new book of essays called African Madness, about his travels throughout the continent. He joins Fresh Air to talk about the brutal reign of Emperor Bokassa in the Central African Republic, Dian Fossey's blind spots regarding the human populations near gorilla habitats, and the spread of AIDS.