A SHORT HISTORY OF AFRICA, 1500-1900 by Constance Jones


Age Range: 12 & up
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 At last, a history of pre-colonial Africa presenting an African perspective for young adults. In accounts as interesting as any of European migrations, dynasties, and wars, Jones outlines the major ethnic groups up to 1900, emphasizing the importance of economics in their histories; readers can trace their movements on accompanying maps. The strengths and weaknesses of each civilization are objectively presented, while the occasionally barbed commentary doesn't demonize the European invaders. Particularly interesting: Jones ascribes the decline of the slave trade to economic factors (rather than to abolitionists) and debunks the hero worship of ``Chinese'' Gordon and the Zulu Shaka; she also demolishes the Boer myth of the ``empty'' land they settled in South Africa. Sections on different parts of Africa aren't always well integrated-- Portuguese prazeros (colonists) are described three times in similar terms, without cross-reference. Boxed stories on such topics as African art and Tippu Tip, a famous trader-king, add interesting detail. A fine resource. No source notes, but an annotated bibliography. Illustrations, maps, index not seen. (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8160-2089-2
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Facts On File
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993