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African History

African History Book List

Cover of 'Boko Haram'

Boko Haram
By Brandon Kendhammer and Carmen McCain

Going beyond the headlines, including the group’s 2014 abduction of 276 girls in Chibok and the ensuing international outrage, Boko Haram provides readers new to the conflict with a clearly written and comprehensive history of how the group came to be, the Nigerian government’s failed efforts to end it, and its impact on ordinary citizens.

Cover of 'Children of Hope'

Children of Hope
The Odyssey of the Oromo Slaves from Ethiopia to South Africa
By Sandra Rowoldt Shell

In Children of Hope, Sandra Rowoldt Shell details the life histories of sixty-four Oromo children who were enslaved in Ethiopia in the late nineteenth century, liberated by the British navy, and ultimately sent to a Free Church of Scotland mission in South Africa, where their stories were recorded through a series of interviews.

Cover of 'Albert Luthuli'

Albert Luthuli
By Robert Trent Vinson

In an excellent addition to the Ohio Short Histories of Africa series, Robert Trent Vinson recovers the forgotten story of Albert Luthuli, Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize winner, who linked South African antiapartheid politics with international human rights campaigns and was a leading advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience techniques.

Cover of 'Amy Biehl’s Last Home'

Amy Biehl’s Last Home
A Bright Life, a Tragic Death, and a Journey of Reconciliation in South Africa
By Steven D. Gish

Granted unrestricted access to the Biehl family’s papers, Steven Gish brings Amy and the Foundation to life in ways that have eluded previous authors. He is the first to place Biehl’s story in its full historical context, while also presenting a gripping portrait of this remarkable young woman and the aftermath of her death across two continents.

Cover of 'Buying Time'

Buying Time
Debt and Mobility in the Western Indian Ocean
By Thomas F. McDow

Thomas F. McDow synthesizes Indian Ocean, Middle Eastern, and East African studies to explain how in the nineteenth century, credit, mobility, and kinship knit together a vast interconnected Indian Ocean region. McDow's new historical analysis of the Indian Ocean reveals roles of previously invisible people.

Cover of 'Hip-Hop in Africa'

Hip-Hop in Africa
Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers
By Msia Kibona Clark
· Foreword by Quentin Williams
· Afterword by Akosua Adomako Ampofo

Msia Kibona Clark examines some of Africa’s biggest hip-hop scenes and shows how hip-hop helps us understand specifically African realities. A tribute to a genre and its artists, Hip-Hop in Africa details the spread of hip-hop culture in Africa and pushes the study of music and diaspora in critical new directions.

Cover of 'Robert Mugabe'

Robert Mugabe
By Sue Onslow and Martin Plaut

For some, Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe is a liberation hero who confronted white rule and oversaw the radical redistribution of land. For others, he is a murderous dictator who drove his country to poverty. This concise biography, in a highly successful series, reveals the complexity of the man who led Zimbabwe for its first decades of independence.

Cover of 'Religion, Media, and Marginality in Modern Africa'

Religion, Media, and Marginality in Modern Africa
Edited by Felicitas Becker, Joel Cabrita, and Marie Rodet

In recent years, anthropologists, historians, and others have been drawn to study the profuse and creative usages of digital media by religious movements. At the same time, scholars of Christian Africa have long been concerned with the history of textual culture, the politics of Bible translation, and the status of the vernacular in Christianity.

Cover of 'Reel Pleasures'

Reel Pleasures
Cinema Audiences and Entrepreneurs in Twentieth-Century Urban Tanzania
By Laura Fair

Reel Pleasures brings the world of African moviehouses and the publics they engendered to life, revealing how local fans creatively reworked global media—from Indian melodrama to Italian westerns, kung fu, and blaxploitation films—to speak to local dreams and desires.

Cover of 'Internal Frontiers'

Internal Frontiers
African Nationalism and the Indian Diaspora in Twentieth-Century South Africa
By Jon Soske

In this ambitious new history of the antiapartheid struggle, Jon Soske places India and the Indian diaspora at the center of the African National Congress’s development of an inclusive philosophy of nationalism. In so doing, Soske combines intellectual, political, religious, urban, and gender history to tell a story that is global in reach while remaining grounded in the everyday materiality of life under apartheid.

Cover of 'Dedan Kimathi on Trial'

Dedan Kimathi on Trial
Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion
Edited by Julie MacArthur
· Introduction by Julie MacArthur
· Foreword by Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

Perhaps no figure embodied the ambiguities, colonial fears, and collective imaginations of Kenya’s decolonization era more than Dedan Kimathi, the self-proclaimed field marshal of the rebel forces that took to the forests to fight colonial rule in the 1950s. Kimathi personified many of the contradictions that the Mau Mau rebellion represented: rebel statesman, literate peasant, modern traditionalist.

Cover of 'Making Money'

Making Money
Life, Death, and Early Modern Trade on Africa’s Guinea Coast
By Colleen E. Kriger

A new era in world history began when Atlantic maritime trade among Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas opened up in the fifteenth century, setting the stage for massive economic and cultural change. In Making Money, Colleen Kriger examines the influence of the global trade on the Upper Guinea Coast two hundred years later—a place and time whose study, in her hands, imparts profound insights into Anglo-African commerce and its wider milieu.

Cover of 'Market Encounters'

Market Encounters
Consumer Cultures in Twentieth-Century Ghana
By Bianca Murillo

By emphasizing the centrality of human relationships to Ghana’s economic past, Murillo introduces a radical rethinking of consumption studies from an Africa-centered perspective. The result is a keen look at colonial capitalism in all of its intricacies, legacies, and contradictions, including its entanglement with gender and race.

Cover of 'Following the Ball'

Following the Ball
The Migration of African Soccer Players across the Portuguese Colonial Empire, 1949–1975
By Todd Cleveland

With Following the Ball, Todd Cleveland incorporates labor, sport, diasporic, and imperial history to examine the extraordinary experiences of African football players from Portugal’s African colonies as they relocated to the metropole from 1949 until the conclusion of the colonial era in 1975. The backdrop was Portugal’s increasingly embattled Estado Novo regime, and its attendant use of the players as propaganda to communicate the supposed unity of the metropole and the colonies.

Cover of 'Living with Nkrumahism'

Living with Nkrumahism
Nation, State, and Pan-Africanism in Ghana
By Jeffrey S. Ahlman

In the 1950s, Ghana, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party, drew the world’s attention as anticolonial activists, intellectuals, and politicians looked to it as a model for Africa’s postcolonial future. Nkrumah was a visionary, a statesman, and one of the key makers of contemporary Africa. In Living with Nkrumahism, Jeffrey S. Ahlman reexamines the infrastructure that organized and consolidated Nkrumah’s philosophy into a political program.