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Table of Contents

1. The frontiersmen of mankind; 2. The emergence of food-producing communities; 3. The impact of metals; 4. Christianity and Islam; 5. Colonising society in western Africa; 6. Colonising society in eastern and southern Africa; 7. The Atlantic slave trade; 8. Regional diversity in the nineteenth century; 9. Colonial invasion; 10. Colonial change, 1918-50; 11. Independent Africa; 12. Industrialisation and race in South Africa; 13. In the time of AIDS.

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A vast and all-embracing history of Africa, from the origins of mankind to the aids epidemic.

About the Author

John Iliffe is Professor of African History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St. John's College. He is the author of several books on Africa, including A Modern History of Tanganyika and The African Poor: A History, which was awarded the Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association of the United States. Both books are published by Cambridge University Press.


Iliffe, an eminent African historian at Cambridge, offers a far-ranging survey of Africa from the development of the human species to the South African elections of 1994. He writes in a thematic rather than strictly chronological fashion. What sets his book apart from other such surveys (e.g., Basil Davidson's African Civilization Revisited, LJ 6/1/91. 2d ed.) is his treatment of the environment and population as factors in the development of Africa, including North Africa. Iliffe examines human coexistence with nature, the building up of enduring societies, and African reactions to outside forces; yet he always keeps the contemporary world in mind, focusing on the answers to such basic questions as why Africa remained relatively underdeveloped compared with Eurasian societies or why African states have experienced so many problems over the past couple of decades. Iliffe's excellent, well-written introductory text belongs in all collections of Africana.-Paul H. Thomas, Hoover Inst. Lib., Stanford, Cal.

'... an expert guide for the general reader to enjoy and to comprehend as background to what is so often in the news. Iliffe writes lucidly and is not afraid to express complicated judgements in simple language, as we are told that, at present day, Africa is experiencing both crisis and renewal and the greatest of disasters embodies hope.' The Historical Association

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