Empires in the Sun: The Struggle for the Mastery of Africa

Lawrence James. Pegasus, $28.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-68177-463-3
In this straightforward overview, English historian James (Churchill and Empire) competently charts the rise of European empire building in Africa and the subsequent demise of those same empires. Beginning with the French capture of Algiers in 1830 and running through the victory of the ANC in South Africa’s 1994 elections, James’s book covers a vast amount of territory. His overview centers on British conquests and colonies as well as those of France, Italy, and Germany. The Belgian Congo receives less attention while Portugal’s and Spain’s colonial activities rate only sparse passages. Each chapter focuses on a different country or region, with early land grabs and diplomatic partitions of the continent giving way to world wars. Veterans of those wars dramatically increased the leadership pool of Africans who possessed a desire for Western-style democracy and the means to take it. WWII and the subsequent Cold War found the U.S. and the Soviet Union (and its satellite Cuba) becoming players in the geopolitical game of independence. Throughout, James lets Western and African voices enliven his history. Western racism and paternalism is made shamefully clear, as is the violence perpetrated by many actors. This is a solid work with little in the way of fluff—James sticks to the historical paths of major countries, leaving all else aside. Maps. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/17/2017
Release date: 06/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-68177-499-2
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-68177-731-3
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