Articles range from 600 words for briefer treatments of some 58 cities up to 4,000 words on major themes such as Agrarian change, Decolonization, and Health and disease. In the midrange are overviews of regions, countries, and language groups and entries on specific topics such as Migrant labor and Transport. A useful thematic entry list in the fore matter groups entries into 15 categories so the reader can see related articles. The index is very important because many topics are addressed only within larger articles. There are no biographical entries; even well-known current or historical figures such as Nelson Mandela or Julius Nyerere are mentioned in the text as appropriate to the topic but have no separate entries. One must use the index to find discussions related to women because there is no overview essay. Entries are accompanied by cross-references and suggestions for further reading, including many very recent publications. A map of the continent and perhaps a time line of major events would have been nice additions.
The language is too academic for school libraries, but at the college level, even if a library owns the excellent four-volume Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara (Scribner, 1997), this is a worthy addition, especially for the thematic essays. For more detailed biographical and local information, the African Historical Dictionaries series (Scarecrow Press) would be complementary in academic and large public libraries. RBB
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'This Encyclopedia offers a rich collection of interpretation and analysis of the major economic, political, social and cultural changes that Africa underwent in the 20th century. It is an outstanding reference resource that will be an essential acquisition not only for African studies library collections, but also for other academic and major public libraries.' - The African Book Publishing Record