Black History

Basil Davidson has long been the most effective popularizer of African history and archaeology outside Africa, and certainly the one best trusted in Black Africa itself. In The African Genius he has turned his historian’s eye to the question of what social anthropology has to add to the picture of …

Absolute Beginners

Here at last are English translations from the French of two of the most famous books on Africa published in recent years. Balandier is a sociologist, and his book is a very attractive, largely autobiographical by-product of his professional field notes. His investigations were pursued in Senegal and Guinea, Gabon …

West African Lessons

Politics in West Africa by Professor Arthur Lewis is distinguished by its brevity and its brilliance. This book is about the single-party state, which Lewis, an eminent economist and a specialist in centralized planning, finds not only repulsive but irrelevant to all the major problems of West Africa. As a …

Out of Africa

The two works heading this list are the opening salvo of a young Harvard historian, of whom we shall certainly hear more. The first shot is a hasty one, fired from the battery of his early lectures. The second is more deadly, coming from his own first-hand research. Dr. Rotberg’s …

The African Revolution

The African revolution, having rolled with a steadily gathering momentum southwards to the Zambezi, has there encountered what is at the very least a serious check. If it is to go further, it will need not merely encouragement but positive help from outside Africa—from the West, or the East, or …

Being Black

How seriously should we take Africa’s loudly-voiced claims to African-ness? Is there an “African personality” which is sufficiently identifiable to be studied? And, if so, is it of such all-embracing importance as to have colored every set of ideas that has been brought into Africa during the past hundred years, …

The Congo

The events of the last few weeks have once again drawn the attention of the world to the continued inability of any Congolese government to make its authority co-extensive with its frontiers. They have once again spotlighted the violence (of which violent xenophobia is only one aspect) that is so …

Understanding Africa

One of the menaces in African studies today is the fact that too many publishers are chasing too few qualified authors for the one short book which is to tell the general public all that it needs to know about Africa. The latest victim of this man-hunt is Professor Paul …