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History of Africa Paperback – 14 May 2012
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Praise for the third edition:
'History of Africa provides extraordinary coverage of the basic history of the entire continent of Africa in a way that is accessible for new students.' - Timothy Cleaveland, University of Georgia, USA
'The readability of the book, the valuable maps and illustrations, and the coverage of the precolonial period as well as more modern eras, make this textbook the best on the market.' - David Chappell, University of Hawaii, USA
'This new edition maintains Shillington's position as an expert who is adept at providing readers with an engaging and intricate portrait of Africa's past. . . A master of the material, Shillington presents a volume that flows and informs. History of Africa is a compelling narrative of change over time on the continent. . . There is an effective incorporation of new evidence in this edition that enhances our understanding of African history.' - Elizabeth MacGonagle, University of Kansas, USA
'Shillington's work is an excellent introduction for students who are new to African history.' - Miles Larmer, University of Sheffield, UK
Praise for previous editions:
'Shillington's coverage is comprehensive, his presentation clear, and his content well up to date with the latest research. . .'- J.B.Peires, University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University), South Africa
'. . . a work with many virtues. . . stylistic lucidity, profusion of clear maps and excellent illustrations.' – International Journal of African Historical Studies
A revised and updated new edition of a market-leading text which provides an illustrated introduction to the complete history of the entire continent of Africa, now supported by a companion website
Top Customer Reviews
For example, we have this typical item concerning Sudan in the mid-1800s: "The European, Egyptian and Sudanese merchants based in Khartoum ... found it more profitable to raid than to trade and the Egyptian government placed no restrictions on their activities on the upper Nile" (p. 281).
Across Africa, the companies and governments of the both colonial and post-colonial eras launched massive schemes, supposedly for the development of Africa: "But in practice the system was widely open to abuse, mainly because it was motivated purely by short-term private profit ... the companies concentrated on the violent expropriation of the people and their natural resources" (pp. 332-333).
The armies and police forces evicted farmers from their land, enforced economic and political monopolies, and crushed any customers who protested. Instead of trying to earn their customers' patronage, these business and political leaders commonly took whatever they wanted by violence.
Shillington does offer glimpses of a different emerging reality, where businesses and governments have to earn rather than enforce support from the customers.Read more ›
My pro's of the book:
- VERY easy to navigate - chapters and sub-sections very clearly marked to navigate all periods of African history by region. As such you can quickly refer to a particular time or ruler without having to skim the entire book
- Lots of illustrations and maps, which are particularly handy (wish this was available in historical overviews)
- The book is very concise, especially given the length of history covered and diversity of the subject. In terms of narrative there isn't too much superfluous descriptions with more focus on chronology and description of events
- The flip side of some of the above pro's is that this is not a book with a narrative or a story. It's a great reference tool for understanding the basics / refreshing your knowledge of BASIC facts. However, it doesn't really bring history to life. In my experience, it's good to use this as a starting point, supplemented by other works. For example, I was reading this together with "Fortunes of Africa: A 5,000 Year History of Wealth, Greed and Endeavour" by Martin Meredith (still a survey of history), which was sometimes difficult to follow given the amount of information covered without illustrations or sub-sections. It was a great balance, with Shillington's books serving as a reference guide and the other as a more compelling story
- Given that this book is very concise (esp. because there are so many maps and illustrations) the timelines, context, etc tend to get over simplified and open to misinterpretation.Read more ›