I reviewed a book for NR in the late Nineties, My Pilgrim’s Progress, by George W. S. Trow, an old New Yorker writer (since deceased). It was about media, not the state of the world. Yet he said the stories he read with greatest attention were about central Africa, and the ex-Soviet republics.
V. S. Naipaul won his Nobel in 2001, which brought all his books out in paperback. Their blue spines were, and are, inescapable in any Borders or Barnes & Noble. Several of his best are about central Africa and its travails.
Knowledge depends upon what one hears and reads (and I suppose on what one wants to hear and read).