8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Realistic View,
This review is from: Defeating Mau Mau, Creating Kenya: Counterinsurgency, Civil War, and Decolonization (African Studies) (Paperback)
This book is excellent in its own right in focussing on "loyalists", however loaded that term is, caught up in what Branch clearly identifies as a civil war, and also as a counterpoint to David Anderson's "History of the Hanged". Although Anderson's book is good on its own main theme, I think that it minimised two important aspects of the confict: the practice of oathing and the perceptions of the access to land of the haves and have-nots in Kikuyu society. Branch's book makes up for these deficiencies very well.
Branch shows that loyalists have often been portrayed as a small group of backward-looking collaborators, but his more nuanced view is that they were as diverse a group as the insurgents and as authentic (and more effective) nationalists. His summary of the situation of ex-Mau Mau and loyalists before and after independence is important to an understanding of modern Kenya.
The book is generally well-written, free of excessive jargon and clearly well researched. It redresses the oversimplified polemics of Caroline Elkins amonst others and I would recommend it