If you are hesitating in buying this book - don't. BUY IT NOW. It is a true labour of love written (if I recall correctly)after 10 years of research. It is extremely well-written and one of the best historical accounts I have ever read. Despite covering a relatively long period of time and an enormous geographical area (not just Africa but the politics of Europe) the author manages to bring it all together elegantly and accessibly. Time spent reading this book is a real pleasure.