Any study dealing with the British contribution in Africa is bound by contemporary fact to be a history. The epidemic emergence of twenty-eight new African nations since 1961 has sounded the demise of Colonial policy, no matter how beneficent it may be claimed to be. The four-hundred-year-old British presence on the continent now, for the most part, lies open to evaluation. In the historical ledger complied by this English journalist, the marks fall rather honestly on both sides. Great names--Mungo Park, Livingstone, Rhodes--opened up Africa, to be balanced later by a pocked combination of deeds and misdeeds. And yet there are many in the new seiche of African leaders grateful to the economic and political legacy left by the British, a legacy whose value lies, according to the author, in England's broad acquaintance with ""international in"" and the ""penitent form"" required to expiate it. His history follows the British through the African ages from Stone-Age tribalism to modern political power; and, in regard to present events, he says little more than all the others about Africa's prophetic, and internationally crucial, future. Taylor's book is valuable in its attempt to assay his country's role in developing and disengaging itself from the continent. No revelation here, but an interpretation fair enough to be acceptable to both African nationalists and Western students of African affairs.