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Glorious Age in Africa: The Story of 3 Great African Empires Paperback – January 1, 1965


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Zenith Books; First Edition / First Printing edition (January 1, 1965)
  • ASIN: B0029EWJMW
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,222,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Andre M. on October 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have used this book to teach both fifth graders and college students about the basics of African history. This book effectively tells the tales of the Sundiata epic, Sonni Ali, the rise and fall of Timbuktu in a way that is entertaining, but also educational. If you want a basic foundation into African history while avoiding the political minefield of "Afrocentrism," read this, learn, and enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
While the conventional history taught in the schools of the western world mentions and praises the quality of civilization in Egypt that constructed the pyramids, there is very little else that is lauded. Most of the remaining coverage of the history of Africa involves the slave trade, the colonial era and the post-independence struggles. That is unfortunate because there were some relatively recent times when civilizations in Africa were more dynamic and quite frankly more civilized than those in Europe.
This book covers the three most powerful and wealthier empires that once reigned in Africa. Written records are sometimes scarce, but what exists describes very powerful and dynamic kings. The first is the empire of Ghana that rose sometime in the seventh century C. E. and remained strong until the first half of the eleventh century. After that it began a precipitous decade-long decline and fell apart in the late eleventh century. At its' peak, it was so powerful that it easily repulsed the armies of Islam that had swept across Northern Africa and through Spain into southern France.
In the shadows of the Ghanaian Empire, there arose another powerful kingdom, that of Mali. It became the pre-eminent power in western Africa when the forces of Mali defeated those of Sosso in 1235 C. E. An Islamic state, it was the source of the greatest Hajj or trip to Mecca ever recorded. In 1324, Emperor Musa and an enormous entourage that may have contained as many as 60,000 people made the trip across Northern Africa to Mecca. What is certain is that Musa passed out so much gold in Egypt that it took over 12 years for the market to recover after he departed. As is so often the case with empires, it could barely survive the death of a powerful ruler.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By City Witch on December 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are two things to know about this book that might not be apparent right off. The first is that it is written for middle grade level children. The second is that it was published in 1963. The most recent edition came out in 1996. However, because it was written for kids there are no notes about what, if anything, changed between editions. I don't know how up to date the facts in the book are, or if new information may have come to light since 1963 that would add to the picture. I wish there had been a brief preface addressing the question. Surely we've learned a little more in the last 50 years! Also, possibly because of when the book was written, the term "Negro" is used to refer to many African peoples (to contrast them with the Berbers). That was startling to see, but its clear no negative connotation was meant.

In school I learned nothing about African history, so when I saw this book I jumped at the chance to improve my child's education--and my own. The book covers three north African empires, Ghana, Mali and Songhay, and some of the most important members of these nations. It covers the gold-salt trade, the role of religion, and the achievements of each empire. My 1996 edition includes some hand drawn maps and an index. As a childrens' book, this is more of an overview than a rigorous or scholarly work, but it's better than I had even in high school, and will serve as a good foundation for later learning.
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Format: Paperback
The font, the spacing, the margins.... all of it together makes reading this book almost literally painful. However, having obtained the book for our homeschool shelves, we took advantage of it. After skimming the book we sought out other sources of information, which have not been easy to find. Looks like a hole in the market?
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