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History of Africa Hardcover – November, 1989

33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This work is written from an African perspective e.g., "Alexander of Macedon (known in European history as Alexander the Great)" and is geared to secondary students (it comes complete with questions). It attempts to emphasize developments affecting the lives of "ordinary" people, from the beginning evolution of humankind up to the present, although post-independence Africa receives but 18 pages (and the bibliography lists only 30 items). Nevertheless, this is a good, well-written introductory text, although some might consider a number of its views, based as they are on the latest trends in scholarship, to be controversial (e.g., South African whites are referred to as "settlers"). Recommended.
- Paul H. Thomas, Hoover Inst. Lib., Stanford, Cal.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A work with many virtues...stylistic lucidity, profusion of clear maps and excellent illustrations."--International Journal of African Historical Studies
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Education (November 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333523806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333523803
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,592,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By John Jefferson on February 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Shillington provides a good survey style textbook on African history from antiquity to the modern period. He covers in great detail and quality of the relationship between Africa and Islam as well as the nature of slavery and apartheid. He covers the slave trade in quite a bit of detail, explaining the value of the African as a marketable commodity. He also explains the origins of apartheid as a colonial parting gift that became entrenched racist national policy for more than fifty years. Shillington's survey is quite appropriate for a high school African history class, an undergraduate African history survey or introduction or even as a first book for a graduate African history course. The topics covered here are obviously from an Africanist point of view although there is a minimum, if any, level of bias on Shillington's part.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Robert Orion on January 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
The book is written from an African point of view, which is badly needed in the current world of academia. Shillington does a great job of portraying things from the "other side". The only defect is that he can sometimes be too sympathetic to the other side and penalize westerners, giving the book a slight bias. Despite this, it is an excellent book for getting a look into African history from another angle.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful By shackletonda.dfh@usafa.af.mil on March 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Kevin Shillington's organization and structure serve well the one semester survey course in African history. There are 29 chapters from pre-history to post-independence Africa. The maps are excellent - the best I have seen. The book does not get bogged down into too much detail but has the most important concepts, people and events. We use it at the Air Force Academy every year with no plans to change in the near future.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Chimonsho on August 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Here is the best one-volume history of this misunderstood continent, one which highlights Africans' agency and creativity. Now in a third edition, it has more useful features than any competitors. Numerous superb illustrations present images ranging from rare to famous. The maps are even better, allowing readers to locate places, peoples and developments precisely. And the text displays Shillington's mastery of all the latest scholarly work on the continent. His sober, balanced approach is sometimes dry, but the style is always readable. Publisher and author claim that "History of Africa" is both a high school and college text, but plentiful (not excessive) detail makes it a challenge for all but the most advanced secondary students. More direct quotations from oral and written sources would improve the book, but this is a minor problem remedied by using supplementary materials. Lastly, the cost is reasonable, less than half the average for comparable surveys of Western Civ or US history. This volume will satisfy the curiosity of the general public too.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Extremely well written and hard to put down.
Shillington has an obvious affection for Africa, but I expected it and allowed for it. I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a first survey of African history.
I would like to have seen more maps, with less information on each map.
I'm not sure the book would make a good text for college, but it makes a great book for general reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Withun on November 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have to be honest and admit that until reading this book I was very uninformed about the history of Africa outside of Egypt and Ethiopia and in any other periods than the ancient and Medieval. This book was a great general introduction to the history of Africa from the dawn of man through to modern times. The illustrations and pictures, both modern and historic, that were featured were very helpful in bringing the subjects to life. The flow of the text itself helped very much in connecting the dots and helping me to understood the flow of African history from one event, period, person, etc. to the next. Overall, I would recommend this is a good general introduction to the history of Africa that would come in use to someone who, like me, knew little to nothing about the history of this great continent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chimonsho on September 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
Independent scholar Kevin Shillington has improved this standard work even further. It incorporates the most recent scholarship, along with a valuable website containing some new material, especially helpful for familiarizing students with ongoing debates on interpreting Africa's past. It is the best one-volume history of this misunderstood continent, one which highlights Africans' agency and creativity. Now in a third edition, it has more useful features than any competitors. Numerous superb illustrations present images ranging from rare to famous. The maps are even better, allowing readers to locate places, peoples and developments precisely. And the text displays Shillington's mastery of all the latest scholarly work on the continent. His sober, balanced approach is sometimes dry, but the style is always readable. Publisher and author claim that "History of Africa" is both a high school and college text, but plentiful (not excessive) detail makes it a challenge for all but the most advanced secondary students. More direct quotations from oral and written sources would improve the book, but this is a minor problem remedied by using supplementary materials. Lastly, the cost is quite reasonable, less than half the average for comparable surveys of Western Civ, US or world history. This volume will satisfy the curiosity of the general public too.
(Adapted from my review of the 2005 edition.)
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