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She concludes that the war, one of the bloodiest and most protracted decolonization struggles of the past century, was anything but the "civilizing mission" portrayed by British propagandists and settlers. Instead, Britain engaged in an amazingly brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing that seemed to border on outright genocide. While only 32 white settlers were killed by Mau Mau insurgents, Elkins reports that tens of thousands of Kenyans were slaughtered, perhaps up to 300,000. The British also interned the entire 1.5 million population of Kikuyu, the colony's largest ethnic group, in barbed-wire villages, forced-labour reserves where famine and disease ran rampant, and prison camps that Elkins describes as the Kenyan "Gulag." The Kikuyu were subjected to unimaginable torture, or "screening," as British officials called it, which included being whipped, beaten, sodomized, castrated, burned, and forced to eat feces and drink urine. British officials later destroyed almost all official records of the campaign. Elkins infuses her account with the riveting stories of individual Kikuyu detainees, settlers, British officials, and soldiers. This is a stunning narrative that finally sheds light on a misunderstood war for which no one has yet been held officially accountable. --Alex Roslin
The book is a deep read into the crisis of managing an empire with results that were beyond the pale. The Mau Mau crisis the west never understood because it was so hidden. Read morePublished 27 days ago by andy hanson
Wow, there is so much information in this book about a really difficult and sad time in the life of Africa. The author really did a ton of homework and research and interviews. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Devon
A very weighty tome; more than I bargained for. Good info; well researched. Just not an "accessible" book for the average reader.Published 2 months ago by Tom Halvorsen
Kenya in the "Emergency" of the Mau-Mau rebellion by the Kikuyu people filled the 1950s up to the early 1960s British decision to relinquish "colonial" control and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael Putman
I grew up in Kenya in Kikuyu and I always heard stories from my grandmother and great grandmother how horrible the British were, but I was young and had no idea how bad it was for... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Pablo
Interesting and still trying to determine the accuracy of some of the more controversial claimsPublished 7 months ago by Mark Cooper
A compelling account of a forgotten past, one that tried to stay buried. It is sad, shocking, a little tedious, but well researched and written. Read morePublished 10 months ago by toolman
This is a well researched yet flawed book. The research is unquestionably good, thus the three stars.
However the book has two major flaws and one minor flaw. Read more