In less than 200 pages are the major incidents--by region--essential for understanding currently changing African affairs. Concise but not arbitrary, this concentrates on political figures, especially twentieth century champions of independence. Elizabeth Thompson's Africa: Past and Present (1966) pays more attention to cultural aspects and precolonial history; this author has a different purpose, relegates early history to a substantial first chapter, ably characterizes the African perspective: ""Once we had the land, and Europeans had the Bible. Then came the missionaries and soon we had the Bible and the Europeans had our land."" MacGregor-Hastie is less thorough and incisive about European scramblers: he neither condones exploitation nor explores the ""dual mandate"" policy. He does, however, have the advantage of two years on Thompson, which means more than enough time for changes; his lukewarm tone may be less (or more) appealing than her scholarly enthusiasm.