G. Pascal Zachary

Writer, Teacher, Scholar



Books

Hotel Africa: the politics of escape (2012)
G. Pascal Zachary is one of the leading American writers on sub-Saharan Africa. "Hotel Africa" is a collection of his essays and reporting, drawn from the first decade of the 21st century, a period of extraordinary change in the region. In the words of journalist Max Fisher, now with The New York Times, Zachary is "one of the most insightful and creative thinkers on Africa we have in the West today."
Zachary has made 45 visits to the region since 2000. He is married to Chizo Okon of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Says the Kenyan intellectual and Harvard professor, Calestous Juma, “Zachary’s vivid rewriting of the African narrative demolishes many old-school misconceptions and will change the way Africa’s future is written.”

Says Steve Haggblade, Michigan State University, "In these writings on African politics, economics and development, Zachary challenges conventional stereotypes, often from the back of a motorcycle, while wandering about a rural market, or through recounting the everyday adventures of his newest local friend. He illustrates big ideas with colorful, ordinary Africans and provides a perceptive, yet nuanced portrait of many of the central issues facing Africa today."

Married to Africa (2009)
"G. Pascal Zachary introduces us to a most extraordinary woman, who takes us -- as she took him -- on a passionate, terrifying, sensual ride into the very soul of modern Africa."
-- Michael Tucker, actor and author

"Though the narrative revolves around the couple's negotiation of issues arising from their differing skin colors and cultural bases -- Zachary's depictions of the in-law introductions for each partner are priceless -- it also reveals the author's great affection for Africa. 'In America, life is cloaked in a heavy garment of fear, anxiety and the relentless drive for self-protection,' he writes. 'In Africa, outer armor is stripped away, and people are permitted -- dare I say entitled? -- to experience the rawness of their own solitary human predicament. For reasons I cannot comprehend, in Africa I feel more human than in America.' Zachary's witty tale of opposites attracted provides an illuminating portrait of African and American daily lives."
-- Kirkus

"What better way to explore -- and cross -- boundaries between cultures than by falling in love? The story of Zachary's romance and marriage is an intriguing and unusual one that sheds light on two continents, as we see each through the eyes of another."
-- Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

The Diversity Advantage: Multicultural Identity in the New World Economy (2003)
In The Diversity Advantage, Zachary provides a provocative roadmap to the new civilization arising out of sweeping shifts in the world economy. He reveals that the key new determinants for any nation’s economic, political and cultural success are, surprisingly, a diverse population and a mongrel sense of self. Roaming the globe, Zachary shows how the rise of new forms of identity and migration are helping to determine who will win and who will lose in the next century.

The Diversity Advantage “is a book that deserves to be taken seriously. While management gurus rely on simple assertion to make their claims about corporate fondness for the little guy, Zachary approaches the subject with an enormous amount of research and firsthand reporting. He shows an impressive familiarity with academic postcolonial studies. He visits with members of forgotten ethnic groups in the former Soviet Union. He watches television with people in deepest Borneo. And the book has lofty implications, tacitly claiming for the new market world all of the glory and the righteousness associated with multiculturalism."
-- The New York Times

"Anyone who believes that race and ethnicity determine world views (or that multiracial classification is the enemy of traditional racial politics) will be challenged by Zachary's existential, make-your-own view of identity and his rigorous insistence on the instability of racial and ethnic categories. This ideological eclecticism and the array of sources on which the book draws shows ... itself [as] a hybrid, a work that crosses boundaries and eludes academic classification."
-- Alex Pang in The Atlantic Monthly

Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century (1997)
At MIT in the 1920s, Vannevar Bush (1890-1974) was a pioneer computer designer. He is best known for his role in Washington during World War II: as an adviser to President Roosevelt, he organizaed the Manhattan project and oversaw the work of 6,000 other civilian scientists designing new weapons. His 1945 report "Science -- The Endless Frontier" spurred the creation of a system of public support for university research that endures to this day.

Showstopper: The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft (1994)
Considered a classic account of the making of a software program, Zachary's "
Showstopper" is the second-most influential "creation story" about computing ever written (after Tracey Kidder's "Soul of a New Machine"). Showstopper continues to be read avidly today, having acquired a cult following among the newest generation of software coders.

One of the first detailed accounts of the inside of Microsoft, Showstopper remains a classic in the literature of high-tech, a dramatic glimpse at the world of high-stakes software programming.

"Showstopper is a worthwhile read on two levels: it's a compelling tale about the creation of a groundbreaking product, and an allegory about the darker side of the American workplace."
-- Newsweek

Books by Zachary

African affairs
a literate and intensely-reported introduction to contemporary Africa
World Affairs
"Zachary approaches the subject with an enormous amount of research and firsthand reporting."
--The New York Times
Biography/History of Techno-science in 20th century America
"Deeply informed and insightful, Zachary has thoroughly captured the spirit of Bush and his times."
--New York Times Book Review
Computers, technology and society
"Riveting"
--Harvard Business Review
"Gripping"
--Fortune
"Compelling"
--Newsweek