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Africa's Discovery of Europe: 1450-1850 Paperback – April 4, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195140842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195140842
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


Advance praise: "In this judicious and sweeping survey, David Northrup astutely examines Africans' active and wide ranging engagements with Europeans over four centuries. Not just victims, Africans proved remarkably resilient and adaptable in their varied encounters with Europeans. Encompassing both collective experiences and individual voices, Northrup paints a rich portrait of the African response."--Philip Morgan, Johns Hopkins University


About the Author

David Northrup is at Boston College.

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Holly Adiele on October 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
David Northrup provides the reader with a unique experience in AFRICA'S DISCOVERY OF EUROPE, 1450-1850. Using direct and indirect quotations from 16th-19th century Africans whenever possible, he recreates four centuries of African reactions to Europe and Europeans. Emphasizing the diversity of African experiences and opinions, he documents their interactions with and opinions of European traders, priests, and rulers. He examines the impact on Africa of European products, technology, and religion (as well as the slave trade), always focusing on the actions and choices of specific African groups and individuals. Individual Africans appear vividly on his pages, sometimes in a single sentence, sometimes in more detail: rulers and slaves, traders and slavers, Christian converts and Eurafricans, Africans who visited Europe and those who spent a lifetime there. Amply footnoted, the slender (200-page) volume is very readable and does not overwhelm the general reader with masses of detail or a pedantic tone. Challenging not only the dominant Eurocentric viewpoint of most American books on Africa but also the monotone view of Africans as passive victims of European domination, Northrup's approach is refreshing. He attempts not a definitive account but one that provokes speculation and invites further research, while sharing sources that personalize these critical centuries of African history. A thoroughly enjoyable book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Pactor VINE VOICE on June 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The topic of African history cries out for clarity and insight. As I've mentioned before in this space, the number one attitude of American's towards Africa is "Ignorance" followed closely at number two with "Ignorance." You can't really blame people, finding out the truth about what happened in Africa is a task complicated by contemporary racial politics on three different continents. I know that Africa has lots of social problems and such, but it's hard to look at a continent with more then a billion people (and climbing) and say "Oh- what a disaster." You want to see a disaster? Check out Russia- negative birthrate? That is failure for you. My take is that people just need to chill out about Africa and try to appreciate some of the astonishing diversity and cultural power that comes out of there.

Africa's Discovery of Europe is a good continent wide introduction to the relationship between Africa and Europe. It is, as much as possible, written from the perspective of Africans and comes with ample footnotes for further reading. Northrup's main thesis is to dispel the "ignorant african" stereotype in terms of their trading relationships with Europeans. In the words of Northrup "Africans got what they wanted out of Europeans." During the time period covered in this book, the Europeans are hardly dominant. From the Portugese traders of the 15th century onwards, the Europeans existed on the fringes of a sprawling continent with it's own empires, nations and peoples. Africa was a place where slavery was already existent, and most of the slaves who made it to the New World tended to spend time as the property of other Africans before they were actually sold across the sea. Northrup even notes that many freed slaves remarked that their main issue was not with slavery, but with the fact that their African owners sold them out of Africa.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gustav on January 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a good intro into some of the broader issues about African history in relation to global history. But the simple point that cuts across the chapters is rather simplistic, repetitious, and often strained. A recommendable book for students though.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By fatfro on May 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book offers a different look at Africans at a crucial time in history.
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