Book cover of Great Kingdoms of Africa by John Parker
Africa

Great Kingdoms of Africa 

This is the first book for nonspecialists to explore the great precolonial kingdoms of Africa that have been marginalized throughout history. Great Kingdoms of Africa aims to decenter European colonialism and slavery as the major themes of African history and instead explore the kingdoms, dynasties, and city-states that have shaped cultures across the African continent. […Learn More]

Book cover of Africa Is Not a Country: Notes on a Bright Continent by Dipo Faloyin
Africa

Africa Is Not a Country: Notes on a Bright Continent

An exuberant, opinionated, stereotype-busting portrait of contemporary Africa in all its splendid diversity, by one of its leading new writers.

So often, Africa has been depicted simplistically as a uniform land of famines and safaris, poverty and strife, stripped of all nuance. In this bold and insightful book, Dipo Faloyin offers a much-needed corrective, weaving a vibrant tapestry of stories that bring to life Africa’s rich diversity, communities, and histories. […Learn More]

Book cover of River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard
Africa

River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile

The harrowing story of one of the great feats of exploration of all time and its complicated legacy—from the New York Times bestselling author of The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic

For millennia the location of the Nile River’s headwaters was shrouded in mystery. In the 19th century, there was  a frenzy of interest in ancient Egypt. At the same time, European powers sent off waves of explorations intended to map the unknown corners of the globe – and extend their colonial empires. […Learn More]

Book cover of Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War by Howard W. French
Africa

Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War 

Revealing the central yet intentionally obliterated role of Africa in the creation of modernity, Born in Blackness vitally reframes our understanding of world history.

Traditional accounts of the making of the modern world afford a place of primacy to European history. Some credit the fifteenth-century Age of Discovery and the maritime connection it established between West and East; others the accidental unearthing of the “New World.” Still others point to the development of the scientific method, or the spread of Judeo-Christian beliefs; and so on, ad infinitum. […Learn More]

Book cover of King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild
Africa

King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

In the late nineteenth century, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium carried out a brutal plundering of the territory surrounding the Congo River. Ultimately slashing the area’s population by ten million, he still managed to shrewdly cultivate his reputation as a great humanitarian. A tale far richer than any novelist could invent, King Leopold’s Ghost is the horrifying account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions. […Learn More]

Africa

What Britain Did to Nigeria: A Short History of Conquest and Rule

Most accounts of Nigeria’s colonisation were written by British officials, presenting it as a noble civilising mission to rid Africans of barbaric superstition and corrupt tribal leadership. Thanks to this skewed writing of history, many Nigerians today still have Empire nostalgia and view the colonial period through rose-tinted glasses.

Max Siollun offers a bold rethink: an unromanticised history, arguing compellingly that colonialism had few benevolent intentions, but many unjust outcomes. […Learn More]

Book cover
Africa

African Europeans: An Untold History

A dazzling history of Africans in Europe, revealing their unacknowledged role in shaping the continent

Conventional wisdom holds that Africans are only a recent presence in Europe. But in African Europeans, renowned historian Olivette Otele debunks this and uncovers a long history of Europeans of African descent. From the third century, when the Egyptian Saint Maurice became the leader of a Roman legion, all the way up to the present, Otele explores encounters between those defined as “Africans” and those called “Europeans.” […Learn More]

Africa

A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution

By the time the “Scramble for Africa” among European colonial powers began in the late nineteenth century, Africa had already been globally connected for centuries. Its gold had fueled the economies of Europe and the Islamic world for nearly a millennium, and the sophisticated kingdoms spanning its west coast had traded with Europeans since the fifteenth century. Until at least 1650, this was a trade of equals, using a variety of currencies–most importantly, cowrie shells imported from the Maldives and nzimbu shells imported from Brazil. […Learn More]