By Richard Reid
“An impressive study, asking important questions and marshalling a wealth of evidence and original argument to provide bold answers.”
Blessed with fertile and well-watered soil, East Africa's kingdom of Buganda supported a relatively dense population and became a major regional power by the mid-nineteenth century. This complex and fascinating state has also long been in need of a thorough study that cuts through the image of autocracy and military might.
Political Power in Pre-Colonial Buganda explores the material basis of Ganda political power, gives us a new understanding of what Ganda power meant in real terms, and relates the story of how the kingdom used the resources at its disposal to meet the challenges that confronted it. Reid further explains how these same challenges ultimately limited Buganda's dominance of the East African great lakes region.
Richard Reid is a lecturer in African and Imperial History at the University of Durham. More info →
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Khat is a quasi-legal psychoactive shrub, produced and marketed in the province of Harerge, Ethiopia, and widely consumed throughout Northeast Africa. In the late nineteenth century the main cash crop of Harerge was coffee. Leaf of Allah examines why farming families shifted from cultivating coffee and food crops to growing khat. Demographic, market, and political factors facilitated the emergence of khat as Harerge's leading agricultural commodity.
One of the first studies of the political ecology of a major African kingdom, Crisis and Decline in Bunyoro focuses on the interplay between levels of environmental activity within a highly stratified society.
War in Pre-Colonial Eastern Africa examines the nature and objectives of violence in the region in the nineteenth century. It is particularly concerned with highland Ethiopia and the Great Lakes. It will be of use to those interested in military history and to anyone involved in modern development and conflict resolution seeking to understand the deeper historical roots of African warfare.