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Bwana Bunduki (Africa and UK)

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Guilty Gadgets  - Triple Car Charger Socket and USB Charger and Extension For All Devices Including Mobile Phones, PDA, TomTom, Sat Nav, Tablets including Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100, S3 i9300, S4 i9500 , Note, Tab, Asus, Nexus, S, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, Blackberry, Z10, Q10, HTC One S X V, Nokia Lumia
Guilty Gadgets - Triple Car Charger Socket and USB Charger and Extension For All Devices Including Mobile Phones, PDA, TomTom, Sat Nav, Tablets including Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100, S3 i9300, S4 i9500 , Note, Tab, Asus, Nexus, S, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, Blackberry, Z10, Q10, HTC One S X V, Nokia Lumia
Offered by Guilty Gadgets
Price: 8.01

3.0 out of 5 stars middling quality, 31 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
the three main sockets are fine, the USB socket was defective. The company contacted me asking for a review, I pointed out the defect and asked them what they wanted to do about it; nothing heard since 26th January, and I'm not inclined to pursue the matter over such a low cost item.

Kenya: The Evolution of Independence
Kenya: The Evolution of Independence
by R.L. Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not wholly original, 31 Mar 2014
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The author acknowledges from the outset that this is a work based upon other secondary sources rather than original research. It is no surprise then that there is not much new here, and the author seems to have been a little bit too dependent on a relatively narrow range of sources for each chapter. It is certainly not risible, but I can't see it competing very strongly against other works by professional historians.

No Need to Lie
No Need to Lie
Price: 3.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Quite a man amongst men, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: No Need to Lie (Kindle Edition)
Full disclosure from the outset: I know Rolf and like him very much. Back in the day I was a habitue of The Horseman, his wonderful restaurant at Karen, and I mourn its passing still. I remember Rolf beginning to write this book, and seeing some of the manuscript. This memoir covers Rolf's life from his really quite difficult childhood in post war Germany through to the present, with quite a bit of detail about his interesting work with the Kenya Police against thugs who had victimised his family. Plus a great deal more. Interesting in its own right as an autobiography, this book will be of great interest to all who know this fascinating man.

Price: 6.41

2.0 out of 5 stars Memoirs of someone best suited to staying at home rather than travelling., 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Muzungu (Kindle Edition)
Muzungu - the title of the book - is a mis-spelling of the Kiswahili word Mzungu, meaning a person of European descent; which sums it up really. Quite a negative assessment of the work of a small East African mission station by a short term volunteer.

No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars strap is weak, 11 Oct 2011
I bought this watch in March 2010; it is now October 2011. The watch itself keeps the time accurately, and is really very good. It is smart looking, given the fairly low price. The one downside is that the expanding strap is quite delicate, and will break at the least excuse. I would say that mine has fallen apart 4 or 5 times now. It is a pretty fiddly job to get the strap back together again after it has broken. So - in the main, a good enough watch, but be prepared to do running repairs.

O Mother, Where Art Thou?: An Irigarayan Reading of the Book of Chronicles (Bibleworld)
O Mother, Where Art Thou?: An Irigarayan Reading of the Book of Chronicles (Bibleworld)
by Julie Kelso
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.06

1.0 out of 5 stars Pseudo Scholarship, 13 Oct 2008
This is a great book if you like Irigirayan / Lacanian literary criticism. On the other hand, if you have any respect for the normal canons of biblical criticism you will be absolutely appalled that this passes for modern scholarship.

This work of 234 pages devotes 9 pages to a review of scholarly literature and over 90 pages to methodology, expounding Irigirayan post-modern literary theory in very considerable detail. The methodology is followed by one chapter on the genealogies of 1 Chronicles and one chapter on the narrative sections of Chronicles. Kelso's exposition on the text of Chronicles does not interact with the majority of mainline scholarship at all; indeed, the most prolific of scholars writing on Chronicles today, Dirksen and Knoppers, do not rate a single mention, whilst the equally prolific Wright and Ben Zvi are cited but once each. Kelso uses her Irigirayan methodology to draw what may only described as idiosyncratic conclusions concerning Chronicles; certainly, her claims find not the faintest echo in the entire corpus of scholarship pertaining to Chronicles. We can only cite a handful of her assertions here. She claims that the Chronicler is a writer who marginalises, silences and disavows the feminine, in Kelso's opinion (pp. 164-166; 171-174 and 212-215). The genealogies, she writes, embody the "phantasy of mono-sexual, masculine (re)production." In her treatment of the narrative portion of Chronicles, Kelso asserts (without any discernible argumentation) that the "murdered" King Saul is the representation of the feminine-maternal body, and the origins to the Davidic dynasty lie in the murder of that maternal body. Kelso notes (174) that Saul's great sin was to turn away from the masculine source of truth (Yahweh) to the feminine source of truth, the wise woman. Kelso (179-180) likens the temple to both male and female sexual organs, but most notably the virginal womb. Kelso opines (202-203) that the mothers in the narrative section of Chronicles are invariably depicted in a bad light (for example, Athaliah and Maacah) and wonders if this is because these woman conceived of and depicted the divine as feminine. Space does not allow a full engagement with Kelso's biblical exegesis, let alone her philosophical and theoretical underpinnings, but we simply observe that if Kelso had taken time to interact with the findings of Knoppers, or even to take seriously the work of other scholars she could at least interact with the thesis that women play an indisputably small, but equally indisputably important and positive, part in the genealogies. Kelso terms "traditional Chronicles scholarship" masculine, and self-consciously eschews it. She notes that in her dealings with the text of Chronicles, she has followed an Irigirayan "feminine" mode of critical enquiry, argument through psychoanalytic and poetic discourse. She distances this type of writing from masculine concepts such as "method" and "exposition" (213). By self-consciously neglecting the findings of other scholars in favour of employing a mode of writing that is more "feminine", Kelso - ironically - manages to suppress utterly even the small celebrations of women that may be found in Chronicles. In her tendentious reading of the narratives, she replaces the Chronicler's anti-pagan polemic with an artificially produced anti-female polemic.

In summation: too foolish for a tear and too wicked for a smile.

Serious students of Chronicles should direct their attention to works by Pancratius Beentjes, Sara Japhet, Gary Knoppers, Ehud Ben Zvi and HGM Williamson.

Wake Up and Smell the Fufu
Wake Up and Smell the Fufu
by Chrisitian Njoya Diawara Small
Edition: Paperback

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly Interesting, 18 Nov 2007
I purchased this book because it received a glowing review in the books section of one of the major daily newspapers. It is actually a somewhat bland read, and the value of the book is undermined by the author's peculiar ideological viewpoints. Tragically, the author was murdered by terrorists in London on 7/7, and this gives the book a certain poignancy.

Mau Mau Warrior
Mau Mau Warrior
by Charles Abiodun Alao
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.97

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy and weak, 30 Jan 2007
This review is from: Mau Mau Warrior (Paperback)
It is hard to know whether or not it is the author or the editors that need to be chastised for this sloppy book. Osprey books are typically aimed at the military enthusiast who wants to have a good and reliable overview of the facts of a given military campaign, along with some useful data on uniforms, weapons, etc. What we have in this book is a combination of factual inaccuracy and half baked analysis.

There are many examples of misspelling of name places (Delaware for Delamere, Kassarani for Kasarani; indeed, the street identified as Delaware Road on p 54 is in fact Government Road, now Moi Avenue) the misidentification of Tribal police as Home Guards (p43), and members of the Kenya Regiment misidentified as Kenya Police Reserve (p53). Other examples abound. One also wonders why so few pictures of mau mau are reproduced in the book; the plates in the centre of the book are a set of aethetically displeasing artist's illustrations.

The term askari is bandied about throughout the book as though askaris were a separate category within the security forces; in fact, askari simply means 'armed man', and can apply to police, soldiers, home guards, private security guards, etc.

All these errors can be attributed to bad editing, and may not be the author's responsibility. However, they speak of a volume that was prepared without care and requisite expertise.

Abiodun Alao was a strange choice of author. He is Nigerian and an expert on modern conflict in West Africa. Why an expert on the Mau Mau was not sought for this book is baffling. This shortcoming is reflected in the bibliography, which (with the exception of Leakey) only cites books that are written from a pro-Mau Mau perspective and in some cases are notorious for their lack of accuracy.

The entire book is thoroughly revisionist in tone. The author plays down the whole issue of the Mau Mau oaths, and writes off much of what has been well documented about these oaths as "clearly exaggerated" although he offers no evidence of exaggeration.

In fairness to the author, he does emphasise the brutalities and atrocities on both sides, but in doing so he seems - to the current reviewer at least - to draw a moral equivalence between the Mau Mau and the security forces, and neglects to highlight the great oppression visited upon the Kikuyu tribe by the Mau Mau; much more needed to be said about the degree of resistance against Mau Mau demonstrated by the Kikuyu and others. Captions in the book claim that the home guard were most hated by the local population; no evidence is adduced for this claim, and no mention if made of the fact that there were more Kikuyu active in the home guard than there were in the Mau Mau forest gangs. Records show massed sweeps of up to 50,000 local people against the Mau Mau.

On page 50, in a most bizarre and reprehensible passage, the author actually defends the use of the panga (machete) by the Mau Mau as a relatively humane way to kill people. The present reviewer has been attacked in Kenya by a bandit with a panga, and I can assure everyone that a panga is not a humane weapon! He appears to hold it to the Mau Mau's credit that they only burned 2-3% of their victims to death.

Other small criticism can be made - factual errors such as claiming that the Home Guard were established in May 1953, when in fact it was March of that year. Similar errors can be seen in the renaming of the Kenya Regiment as the Kenyan Regiment, and the claim that the 4th and 6th KAR were primarily involved in fighting Mau Mau, whereas it was probably the 5th KAR that saw most action. These may seem like a trifling issues, but it reveals an author not in command of his subject.

Writing books about a desperately contentious subject such as the Mau Mau calls for a firm grasp of the subject matter.

A very weak addition to the Osprey Warrior series.

Histories of the Hanged: Britain's Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire: Testimonies from the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya
Histories of the Hanged: Britain's Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire: Testimonies from the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya
by David Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.99

17 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars At least it is better than Elkins, 9 Jan 2007
This is a somewhat more subdued and reasoned account of the Kenya Emergency that Elkins' "Britains Gulag". This is not to say that it is by any means the best account of the Emergency, since it still revels in histrionic language such as "dirty war". All counter-insurgencies are dirty, as are all civil wars, and Kenya was no exception - a rebellion against Britain and civil war amongst the Kikuyu combined.

What really is missed in this book is the very significance of fact that Britain used the force of law, not just the force of arms, to defeat the Mau Mau. The Attorney General of Kenya was exceptionally careful not to allow the government to excede their lawful powers, and insisted that all trials that took place were rigorously within the norms of civilian justice. Many Mau Mau were acquitted for lack of evidence, a point that this book skims over. Doubtless there were mistakes and miscarriages of justice - and perhaps that brings in the whole issue of the moral status of the death penalty - but what the book fails to convey is that given the dire danger facing Kenya from the Mau Mau, the campaign against Mau Mau was conducted with remarkable restraint and regard for the legal process. Those who were hanged had a trial, unlike the thousans of Africans butchered by the Mau Mau.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2013 6:52 PM BST

Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya
Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya
by Caroline Elkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.60

32 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tendentious and biased, 9 Jan 2007
This work is an exemplar of the category of modern history writing that adopts a post-modern distrust of official positions, government documents, etc, and places disproportionate reliance upon the testimonies of former Mau Mau. This is a mistake in itself, as even a cursory survey of memoirs produced by former Mau Mau show themselves to be inaccurate and exaggerated. This is an exercise in historiographical political correctness, following the line that only indigenous people can know and tell the truth of their history (which is simply not true) and misses (or more likely disregards) the point that people so closely involved in an armed struggle are unlikely to recognise or acknowledge the patterns of oppression that they perpetrated themselves.

As a work it reveals little of the immense cruelty and suffering that Mau Mau inflicted upon Kenyan African people, nor the remarkable degree of tenacity that many Africans displayed in resisting Mau Mau. Who is going to pay compensation to the Kenyans who suffered under the Mau Mau terror?

Some commentators in the Kenya press have noted a tendency in Elkins to fall into the rather patronising attitude of depicting Mau Mau as noble savages in her headlong rush to eulogise Mau Mau. This may or may not be the case, but what is undoubtedly the case is that this book is an exercise in unrestrained British bashing. Like many on the American left, she has a particular contempt for the British Empire. This is revealed in the very title of the book, where she tries to draw a comparison and moral equivalence between the British and Stalinist Russia. The use of the word Gulag in the title shows that 1) she knows next to nothing about the gulags (the real ones) and 2) that she has no compunction in employing a lack of scholarly restraint in her language. The tone of the book is simply hysterical.

No-one denies that there were many atrocities committed in Kenya by the security forces; this has always been well known, and was widely reported upon at the time. This is certainly not an "untold" story, but rather a well established narrative rehashed in histrionic terms by Elkins. It is right to deplore security force atrocities, but Elkins does not address the bigger issue of whether or not the general conduct of the British military campaign in the Kenya Emergency was reasonable and commensurate to the threat that Mau Mau posed.

What might have been a more useful exercise would be a comparative study on how counter-insurgency campaigns in the 1950s and 60s - Algeria, Dahomey, Vietnam for example- were conducted by France and America in comparison to the British in Kenya. I suspect that this would reveal that 1) no counter insurgency is clean and noble but that 2) the Kenya Emergency was conducted with relative restraint and with much greater respect for due legal process than might be expected.

There are many scholarly works on the Kenya Emergency, some pro-British, most are pro-Mau Mau, but most make an effort to be balanced. I do not believe that any other major scholarly work on the Mau Mau is as blatantly biased as Elkins.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2014 9:07 PM GMT

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