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Africans and Their History: Second Revised Edition Paperback – August 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0452011816 ISBN-10: 0452011817 Edition: 2nd Revised
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph E. Harris is a professor of history at Howard University. He is the author of several academic books on African history. He makes his home in Silver Spring, Maryland.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 2nd Revised edition (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452011817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452011816
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. Cooper on February 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Africans and Their History is a great start and a great reference tool in the study of African history. From the early beginnings, the author depicts the people, culture, religions, conflicts, and much more. In chronological order, he presents a study of an African people from early to present times. A great comprehensive start for anyone looking to explore true history.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
very comprehensive, lots of information aboutarious aspects of african history. however, knowing very little about afrcan history before reading this book, i got very confused. information overload! i felt like a bunch of facts were being thrown at me. would be a great book for people who already have anidea about african history but not beginners.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on January 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Joseph E. Harris is a Howard University Distinguished Professor of History emeritus, and Director of the South African Research and Archival Project. He is also the author of books such as Africans and Their History: Second Revised Edition and Global Dimensions of the African Diaspora.

He writes in the Preface to this book (I'm citing the 1987 Revised edition), "That development (of independent African nations) underscored the ignorance of non-Africans about Africans, and among the results of this realization has been the emrgence of numerous courses and programs of African studies on various educational levels throughout the world, with an increasing demand for materials to train specialists and to inform the general public. The special implications of these occurrences for black people are obvious: the affirmation of an identity, a source of pride and fulfillment, and the substance and perspectives necessary for a liberating movement. This book attempts to contribute to these several needs."

Here are some quotations from the book:

"(Herodotus) sowed seeds of racial prejudice that shaped black-white images for centuries to come. He frequently referred to Africans as 'barbarians,' and characterized the people of Libya by saying, 'Their speech resembles the shrieking of a Bat rather than the language of Men.'" (Pg.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on June 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harris' _Africans and Their History_ is a bit uneven. The opening chapter on the myths and stereotypes of Africa and Africans is outstanding, as Harris lays out the pejorative way in which Europeans have seen and understood Africans since the days of antiquity - stereotypes and generalizations that have influenced the way the continent has been seen up to and including today: a continent whose inhabitants have been acted on by history rather than being actors of history, people who are passive players in world civilization. Naming these untruths, pointing to the antecedents of these incorrect perceptions and showing how these have shaped the way much of the world sees Africa perhaps set my expectations a bit high for the rest of the book. I wish he had revisited this thread more often (and more forcefully) throughout his narrative - it is an important point, and one which bears keeping in mind in reading any history of Africa.

Harris' discussion of Egypt, Meroe and Aksum were very good, if a bit brief. My disappointment began with his examination of the Islamic west African kingdoms of Ghana, Mali and Songhai. The scope of their political and economic influence in west Africa deserved, in my opinion, more detail than was given here. The economic and especially cultural relationship between the Islamic empires of the Maghrib and those of the Niger river certainly warrants more than 40 pages, especially considering the strong and lasting influence Islam has in this part of Africa. Similarly, I wish more detail was given in the development and growth of independence and nationalist groups in Africa in the early 20th century.
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Africans and Their History: Second Revised Edition
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