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The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0813920856
ISBN-10: 081392085X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

 [C]hallenging and innovative...thorough and masterful... One hopes that Christopher Ehret has initiated a new trend in the writing of African history textbooks,one that challenges previously accepted chronologies and ideas and presents us with an interpretation that connects social, economic, political, and cultural history.

(African Studies Review)

An authoritative and strikingly original overview of African history up to 1800, written at a level that will be accessible to entering college students.

(Patrick ManningNortheastern University, author of Migration in Modern World History, 1500-2000)

About the Author

Christopher Ehret is Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of An African Classical Age: Eastern and Southern Africa in World History, 1000 B.C. to A.D. 400 (Virginia).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press (May 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081392085X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813920856
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a great easy to understand overview of African History in that it is decently comprehensive, and doesn't bog the reader down in a million names and dates. The best feature of this book is its focus on Africa, for it's own sake, instead of in relation to others. It also talks more about what the people were doing than kings and other heads of states, and how people interacted together, in such forms as trade, cultural difussion, and yes, wars.

While dry in parts, as it is in fact a textbook, it makes African history accessible to one who hasn't gotten enough of it. I recommend it highly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An incredible introduction to the empires and nations of Africa which existed pre-colonization period. I had not realized that 500 year old empires had risen and fallen in Africa long before Europe felt the need to "improve" it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not fiction and none of the questions about mood, plot, pace and character are applicable. The Civilizations of Africa is, I think, the best of the survey African history books. It suffers from the usual problem of the type: too much information to cover and at the same time from a problem specific to African history - there are huge lacunae, enormous areas unknown. The scholarship is good; the approach is thoughtful. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand the author gives a good over-view of African history
from the beginning to 1800 in an understandable way. It might at times gloss over many things if not skip
them altogether, but this is inevitable when trying to cover over 19,000 years of history in something
that would take less than a few dozen lifetimes to read. The work is also structured in a logical way that makes
it easy to follow along with.

The biggest fault with the book is the tone. It often seemed as if the author wanted to preach more than teach.
Those interested in taking African history courses are almost invariably going to be open to the true richness and
diversity of the continent and will already largely not be bogged down by 19th century views of the continent.
While it is fair to address unenlightened views of the continent, the frequency and tone -- made it sound as if he wished to attack everything and anything European at any time, even when it wasn't relevant to the topic.
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