African Roots, African Invention
Listeners curious about African music will find Music Is the Weapon of the Future an incredibly valuable resource, with its emphasis on influential artists, recordings, labels, and movements. The francophone influences on the author (whose French edition from 2000 has just came out in English translation) color his perspective but do not bias his coverage.
Despite a well-grounded approach to the music, this remains a scholarly bookfootnotes dot a majority of the pages, for example. By definition, it's not going to provide a "short list" of players to check out. But what it does offer is honest, insightful, perceptive analysis of a vast, underappreciated family of musical styles. In our day and age, nobody should complain about that.