The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa

Patricia C. McKissack, Author, Fredrick McKissack, Jr., With
Patricia C. McKissack, Author, Fredrick McKissack, Jr., With Henry Holt & Company $15.95 (142p) ISBN 978-0-8050-1670-3
Prebound-Other - 141 pages - 978-0-7807-5391-4
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The McKissacks ( Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman? ) continue to illuminate aspects of African American heritage with this introduction to three major kingdoms of medieval Africa: Ghana, Mali and Songhay. Based on folklore, contemporaneous accounts and modern scholarly research, their discussion covers the origins, customs, people and political history of these civilizations, which flourished from approximately A.D. 500 to 1700 but which until recently have been neglected by historians. Because much of the available information about medieval Africa is sketchy at best, the narrative is sometimes confusing, especially when the authors combine divergent theories or rely on myth and legend to fill holes in the historical record. Still, their volume contains insightful information about an important period in both African and world history and explores such complicated issues as African involvement in the slave trade and the role of religion in establishing, shaping and destroying bygone kingdoms. A timeline, notes and extensive bibliography encourage further reading. Ages 10-14. (Jan.)
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