Friday, September 05, 2003

Books on African History

I was extremely annoyed the other day by the claim someone made that Africa had "no ancient civilizations." The statement struck me as ignorance of the crassest sort, and when I pointed out that it was untrue, I was challenged by the person who made it to come up with texts that might dispell that negative impression. That didn't prove at all hard to do, as I was able to discover a wide variety of enlightening references within the course of a single afternoon's browsing at my local bookstore. Following are some of the works I managed to dig up:

  1. "The Cambridge History of Africa" Series
    1. J.D. Fage, "Volume 2 - From c. 500 BC to AD 1050", Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521215927 (Hardback).

    2. R. Oliver, "Volume 3 - From c. 1050 to c. 1600", ISBN 0521209811 (Hardback).

  2. "General History of Africa" Series
    1. I.Hrbek, UNESCO (Eds.), "Volume 3 - Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century [Abridged]", 1992, University of California Press, ISBN 0520066987 (Paperback).

    2. J. Ki-Zerbo, D. T. Niane (Eds.), "Volume 4 - Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century [Abridged]", 1998, University of California Press, ISBN 0520066995 (Paperback).

    3. B. A. Ogot (Ed.), "Volume 5 - Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century [Abridged]", 1999, University of California Press, ISBN 0520067002 (Paperback).

  3. C. Ehret, M. Posnansky (Eds.), "The Archaeological and Linguistic Reconstruction of African History", 1982, University of California Press, ISBN 0783748183 (Paperback).

  4. C. Ehret, "An African Classical Age: Eastern and Southern Africa in World History, 1000 B.C. to A.D. 400", 1998, University Press of Virginia, ISBN 0813920574 (Paperback).

  5. C. Ehret, "The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800", 2002, University Press of Virginia, ISBN 0813920841.

Let no one say to me in the future that, as he or she isn't aware of African history, it must not exist. Such an argument would be preposterous even without any efforts on my part to counter it, as preposterous as saying "Neptune cannot exist, or I should already have seen it with my own eyes." Astonishing as it may seem, given the sort of thing that is taught about Africa to most Westerners (on the rare occasion when anything at all is taught about Africa), there is a great deal more to African culture and history than slavery and colonialism, and we weren't all sitting around naked in little hamlets until intrepid white men happened to come along.