People keep criticising Elkins for writing the wrong book! Her book describes the 'pipeline', the network of forced labour camps in which Mau Mau suspects were detained indefinitely, without trial. She describes the structure of the network and what happened within the camps. It is this horror that she wishes to expose. She details the efforts to expose the brutality by Barbara Castle and others and the stone-walling obstructionism of the colonial secretary, Lennox-Boyd and the governor, Evelyn Baring. The reasons for the conflict are discussed relatively briefly as it is necessary to understand why so many (mainly) kikuyu men were imprisoned without due process. However, the real horror is the extent of the torture, starvation, summary executions, and mass graves. Women and children were made to live in emergency villages which were hardly better. The women were raped by both Europeans and fellow Africans, endured forced labour and were often tortured in the most obscene way. She exposes a crime against humanity, committed by Europeans and other Africans loyal to the colonists. Elkins does not dwell on Mau Mau atrocities against Europeans, or inter-tribal violence, important as those are, though they are covered in as far as they put her main subject into context.
She may be a liberal - she is certainly no right-wing bigot - and she is interested in human rights but that hardly makes her biased. Even those on the right should concede that systematic brutality is morally wrong. Her evidence has been meticulously recorded and annotated in this book which at last exposes the behaviour of some very unpleasant people, plus a few psychopaths.