cover image The Africans: A Triple Heritage

The Africans: A Triple Heritage

Ali A. Mazrui. Little Brown and Company, $0 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-316-55200-4

For a TV series soon to air on PBS, a Kenyan political scientist who teaches in Nigeria and at the University of Michigan has organized a stimulating introduction to Africa's peoples and problems that is superior to most previous books of this kind. With great skill, Mazrui traces Africa's indigenous, Islamic and Western heritages in the organization and structure of religions, the slave trade, modern technology, the civil-military pendulum, ""capitalism without winter,'' language, cultural changeeven participation in sports. The very concept of Africa, he notes, was created by Western geographers, and it was actually white foreigners who unintentionally gave inhabitants of the continent the idea of Africanness and an African identity. Throughout, Mazrui provocatively suggests remedies for Africa's malaise. Photos. (October 6)