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Comment: xii, 209 p. ; 24 cm. notes in pen throughout. 'Based on over 250 psychiatric case files, this book traces the lives of Kenya's 'white insane' to focus not on the 'great white hunters' and heroic pioneer farmers, but on those Europeans who did not manage to emulate the colonial ideal. In doing so, the book raises important new questions around deviance transgression and social control.'
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Madness and Marginality: The Lives of Kenya's White Insane (Studies in Imperialism) Hardcover – 1 Mar 2013


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Review

With this insightful and sensitive analysis of Europeans incarcerated for mental illness in colonial Kenya, Will Jackson manages not only to reclaim these troubled, marginalized individuals as historically meaningful actors. He also casts a fresh and revealing light on the settler community as a whole. The result is a strikingly original and important contribution to the scholarship on settler colonialism. -- Dane Kennedy. The self-disciplined effort to sustain imperial prestige did not inevitably send Kenya's white settlers mad - just as the constraints of subjection did not necessarily madden Africans. But ordinary human weaknesses - financial, social, or sexual - did seem especially dangerous to an anxious white minority. The documented confinement of their 'poor men and loose women' has enabled Jackson, in this carefully observed and beautifully written study, to portray Kenya's settlers in the round. Not all were libidinous aristocrats swapping wives in Happy Valley, nor all gentleman farmers pioneering under the flame trees of Thika. --John Lonsdale.

About the Author

Will Jackson is Lecturer in Imperial History at the University of Leeds

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