Moral Healing Through the Most Beautiful Names

Laleh Bakhtiar, Author, Laleh Bakhtiar, Joint Author Kazi Publications $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-871031-40-9
Nyang's new book attempts the ambitious project of untangling the different threads of religious, racial and political identity in postcolonial Africa. With such an imposing problem, and with scarcely more than 100 pages of text, it is not surprising that the effort falls short in some ways. The four chapters have all been previously published as separate articles, and they are not convincingly integrated as a book. For the general reader, the first chapter (on traditional African religions) and the chapter comparing two African intellectual visions of African identity may be helpful and interesting. The introduction might be useful as a review of postcolonial African literature. Unfortunately, the main thrust of the book--the two chapters on Islam and Christianity, respectively--are neither specific enough for the specialist nor introductory enough for the novice. The chapter on Islam, for instance, lacks sufficient dates and a map and seems to move from event to event and individual to individual without any explanation of the connections between them. The chapter on Christianity does not examine in depth any specifically African forms of Christian religiosity, which one would expect to find in such a book. Also missing is a clarification of what Nyang means by the phrase ""African man""; in a critical work, such blanket terms require a more careful examination. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/04/1995
Release date: 12/01/1995
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