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The Ethiopians: A History

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0631224938
ISBN-10: 0631224939
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Editorial Reviews


"Clear, balanced and well informed, drawing on the latest sources to valuable effect, especially in references to archaeological work." Times Literary Supplement

"Richard Pankhurst's contribution to The Peoples of Africa series will be a useful tool for students and general readers who are new to Ethiopian history." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

"The Ethiopians makes an excellent introduction to the fascinating past of Ethiopia." Danny Yee's Book Reviews - For the full text of this review please visit:

"... excellent, based on current scholarship, factual and replete with the type of generalizations necessary for a good tertiary study." Journal of African History

Book Description

This comprehensive history charts the fascinating development of Ethiopian peoples & their society from prehistory to present day.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (February 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631224939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631224938
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Nelson on March 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Ethiopians - A history is a scholarly introduction to Ethiopian history by an author with a profound insight into the subject. Commencing with the dawn of pre-history, Professor Pankhurst provides a well organised trek through the events, people and geography that are Ethiopia. The perspective is that of an empathetic, embedded westerner, conveying a deep passion for the subject while connecting with an educated western audience. Ethiopia has a very long and complex history, making the task of summarising it extremely challenging. It is therefore almost inevitable that any brief description of this fascinating web of events and people must at times verge on the clinical. This book is, however, by no means free of passion. It would be inhuman for any author to not convey some degree of emotion when reporting events such as the 1935 invasion by Mussolini's regime, and colonial attitudes to such a proud and independent nation. Overall this book provides a very useful historical basecamp from which the reader can make forays into the complexity of Ethiopia.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By José Saavedra on June 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Richard Pankhurst is one of the foremost modern authorities on Ethiopia. This book is a summary of many more that he has written on the subject. It has acceptable maps (these can almost always be improved) and a helpful chronological table. The prose flows easily and it is a pleasure to read.
My purpose in buying the book was to be able to have conversations regarding Ethiopia with a good friend who has just returned after spending 20 years there. He was impressed that I could ask him to tell me in more detail about the Tigray, or the Amharas or the Oromos, or the Italian occupation or the war with Eritrea!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chris on November 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a good book, especially when it got to the nineteenth century. My only complaint is that it barely says anything about ancient Axum (thats like writing a history of Italy but skipping over the Roman empire). The text also seemed to focus on Ethiopia's connection with the rest of the world, rather than focusing on Ethiopia's history and the Ethiopian people themselves (that is , their culture). An imformative read but hardly the kind of info I expected.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bonam Pak on March 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a RastafarI I have an intense interest in the history of Ethiopia. However, in the country I live in, I could find nothing in the book shops, not even in the library that is anything else than travelogues, architectural picture books, satires of the reign of Haile Selassie-I or the usual Western doom-n-gloom vision of contemporary politics.

What a relief this book is indeed! As for the above reasons, my so far knowledge on Ethiopia's history is relatively limited, i.e. my rating has to be considered as that of a reader, who largely reads "new" information.

The subtitle "A History" should be considered, as it rightfully doesn't say "The History". The 277 text pages - including 25 half-page sized pictures - are merely a summary of Ethiopia's history. Most of the time quite literally, as the book proceeds with an incredible pace through the times. Therefore, it is probably the perfect book for newcomers to the subject. On average every page suggests an entire book waiting to be written on its content. So much for the Western assumption, Africa would be devoid of any history! In fact, reading this book, I felt like reading some sort of science fiction, the history of another planet. Ethiopian history reads like one of the "classical" histories of other countries we are well used to, only this one has been thoroughly omitted from the Western consciousness. No wonder, after all, it is THE classical country, as it is the oldest, in the sense that Ethiopia is the very cradle of humanity. No wonder also, knowledge about it has been largely censored, as the Western entanglements in Ethiopian history largely is a shame.

It would be an idel attempt to summarize this defacto summary.
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