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Old 05-16-2003, 09:03 PM
Daoloth Daoloth is offline
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African History Books

What are some good in print books on African history from the mid twentieth century and upwards? The more comprehensive and all encompassing the better. After reading about the brutal war in the DRO, I'd like to enlighten myself about this continent, of which I know only minimal. I know that almost all of them are former colonies of the French, Belgian, German, British, Dutch or Portuguese, but I don't know their stories.

So, suggest away, please.
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Old 05-16-2003, 09:08 PM
Daoloth Daoloth is offline
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That should be DRC*...
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Old 05-16-2003, 09:32 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Post-independance Africa? Hmmm...Most of the stuff on my shelf is pre-independance or fairly specific.

But try wandering over to Amazon and do a search on Basil Davidson. He's done a slew of survey history books ( plus a lot of specific material ) on Africa, including a modern history/analysis or three.

- Tamerlane
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Old 05-17-2003, 05:28 AM
Napier Napier is offline
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There's a weird controversy about African History, concerning "Afrocentrism".
I read a book called "Not Out of Africa". As I recall it explains that Afrocentrism teaches that Africa played a central role in defining Western Civilization, and that Afrocentrism should be promoted not on the basis of whether it is factually true but rather on the basis that African descendants are often disenfranchised and should receive the boost provided by Afrocentrism as part of the process of fixing this. There's tacit acceptance that the teachings of Afrocentrism are not in fact born out by the tests of validity that are normally supposed to be part of the process of historical research. Thus there is a debate between Afrocentrists and other historians over whether the social agenda should trump the factual truth, or vice versa.
I remember from other readings that a prime proponent of the Afrocentrism movement is a history professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. Sorry but I don't remember the names of either of these two people.

Don't mean to tap into a deeply controversial subject, and if I got some fact here wrong please let me know! I'm trying to explain what I think I read as a factual topic, not to offend anybody. But if you want African history books, seems to me you must know there are two groups of them to choose from.

BTW I very much liked a book on African history by, I think, Colin McEvedy, published by, I think, Penguin. It's a little paperback that uses maps on half the pages to progress through time, part of an excellent series, many of which books are written by McEvedy. They're splendid. I understand they'd be in the non-Afrocentrist camp.
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Old 05-17-2003, 05:53 AM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Colin McEvedy's Penguin Historical Atlases are pretty solid - the African one is particularly good. I'll certainly second it - If you weant a wide-ranging overview of the entire history of Africa. However only a small part of it is dedicated the last half of the twentieth century. If you decide to go with a more specific modern history, you could do worse than to pick up the atlas as a supplemental source or light background material.

Likewise the Afrocentric debate mostly centers on pre-modern Africa and I think would be outside the general scope of the OP's inquiry.

- Tamerlane
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