- Paperback: 768 pages
- Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (26 Nov. 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0349104492
- ISBN-13: 978-0349104492
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 5.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Scramble For Africa Paperback – 26 Nov 1992
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'Magnificent, vigorous, comprehensive, compulsive reading' DAILY TELEGRAPH *'Memorable history on a grand scale . . . brilliant . . . thrilling, fast moving, imaginative, coherent' INDEPENDENT *' A phenomenal achievement . . . clear, authoritative and compelling' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH *'Grim as well as gripping reading . . . Pakenham writes racily and humorously . . . a magnificent, swash buckling, blood-bolstered epic' OBSERVER
*the full-scale story of the nineteenth-century imperial invasion of AfricaSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Packenham's book is majestic. Some of the subject matter in the hands of someone less skilled would become unbearable. Inter-department shenanigans of various French governments? With Packenham it's fascinating!
The book covers a huge subject, from the early explorations of Livingstone through to a time where all but Ethiopia and Liberia remained unconquered. This includes the European government machinations, the 'scientific' explorations, the missions, the wars, the capitalist exploitation and everything in between.
Startlingly, Packenham brings hundreds, if not thousands, of the central characters to life in such a small space (albeit nearly 700 pages of fineprint). Not only the well-known major players like Stanley, Leopold and Rhodes of whom we'd all heard, but people like Tippu Tip, Lugard, George Goldie and King Mwanga are all leant such an incredible depth of character.
The story is fascinating, if at times farcicle, gruesome and ditressing.
I found two factors shocking. The first is the complete lack of plan the European powers had when entering into the scramble, made worse by the frivolous tit-for-tat nature of much of the division of Africa between France and Britain. I had naively thought that a reasonably serious analysis of the continent had been undertaken prior to a systematic division largely based on resources.
The second was the shocking atrocities the Imperial governments were willing to sweep under the carpet to get what they wanted.Read more ›
It is excellently researched, well written and once you start reading it you will not stop.
It reads like a novel and Pakenham manages to infuse what is a serious and often grim subject with a flavour of humour with his unerring turn of phrase and wit
This part of history is neglected in European history lessons, which I think is mostly because a large part of it is quite embarassing for modern readers. The arrogance and blatant disregard for the original inhabitants of the continent is breathtaking at times. On the other hand, this book left me amazed that any of the European powers had empires at all. The sheer scale of incompetence, back-stabbing and bloody-mindedness is astounding...sometimes you can't see how they managed to get anything done at all. It does make for a good story, and I'd recommend the book to anybody with an interest in African or European history.
It covers the era at the end of the 19thC when the european powers started carving up africa and attempts to answer some of the questions about why nations did this (the answer, it seems, is to stop others getting there first), and how.
Some of the detail is wonderful and you are struck by how much research Pakenham must have done. Unfortunately, in trying to cover a whole continent, Pakenham does tend to focus on the british angle and the big events at the expense of other nations, so there's a lot about the Belgian Congo, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Nigeria - but you're left wondering about the likes of Liberia, Libya, Senegal and others.
No one comes out particularly well, and towards the end there are some real horror stories. This is as much a lesson in politics as history, and essential reading about an area we should know more about already.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A book that everybody should read. I've two of them, the fist one starting to loose his pages (reading and coming back too much to some chapters). Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sommerled
I've trudged on through this tome and at times it's very good but after about half way I got bored with the political machinations and endless names and places, which didn't seem... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mr.Adrian C.
An amazing book that everybody should read. The awful, tragic history of a great continent with its fabulous peoples. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sonogram
The Scramble for Africa was a term coined to describe the great rush in the late 19tth Century by the European powers to claim a slice of the African continent. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Rob C