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Summary

This Very Short Introduction looks at Africa's past and reflects on the changing ways it has been imagined and represented, both in Africa and beyond. The author illustrates important aspects of Africa's history with a range of fascinating historical examples, drawn from over five millennia across this vast continent.

The multitude of topics that the listener will learn about in this succinct work includes the unity and diversity of African cultures, slavery, religion, colonial conquest, the diaspora, and the importance of history in understanding contemporary Africa. The book examines questions such as: Who invented the idea of "Africa"? How is African history pieced together, given such a lack of documentary evidence? How did Africa interact with the world 1,000 years ago?

Africa has been known as "the cradle of mankind", and its recoverable history stretches back to the Pharaohs. But the idea of studying African history is itself new, and the authors show why it is still contested and controversial.

This VSI , the first concise work of its kind, will prove essential for anyone interested in the African continent and the diversity of human history.

In a hurry? Listen to more Very Short Introductions.
©2007 Oxford University Press; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great introduction to the "African history"

Couldn't keep it down. The narrator was captivating! I am now going to dig deep and learn my history - something that I shamedly haven't.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent overview

Incisive but wide-ranging & useful content. Outstanding narration by that rare performer who has done his homework, respects his audience, and performs at the top of his profession. Every audio-book narrator should listen and learn from him.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Francisco
  • 29-12-10

Buyers beware

The book’s title is a bad pun. This is not the chronological/regional sketch of key peoples, figures, and cultural/economic/military events happened in the African continent in the last few millennia for the interested layman that I supposed it to be. Rather, it is a dull rant about the historians of Africa during the last 150 years, their views, their publications, their political agendas and their petty academic battles, all this generously sprinkled with dull philosophical meanderings about what History is or should be. A waste of listening time.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • gmccree16
  • 18-05-16

Great Intellectual Introduction

This is NOT a typical history survey. Instead, it covers the problems inherent in approaching the long history of an entire continent. And, it is a quiet commentary on the way in which Americans tend to approach African history as a monolith, without really confronting the variety of people's and nations. Good college-level introduction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 27-07-12

Not Short Introduction, rather a Long Bibliography

What disappointed you about African History?

I was heading to Africa for a holiday and wanted to learn more about the History. This book is more in the nature of an academic paper.

My worst purchase on Audible.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • pme1123
  • 01-07-15

Monotone Metahistory of Africa

What did you like best about African History? What did you like least?

This is a decent metahistory of Africa. That is, this book is a history of the history of Africa - this is a survey of the sources, ideas, constructions, and agendas that have dominated the scholarly field of African history for the past ~200 years. It is not a linear history of Africa from the dawn of humans to the present. It does include some illustrative anecdotes and major historical undercurrents, but mostly to support the metahistory aspect. As such, if you're looking for a story or a bunch of facts, this is not your book. It is, however, excellent for contextualizing everything else you might read on the topic - which I will appreciate in further books. Worth reading, but the atrocious narrator means listening is a slog.

What didn’t you like about Dion Graham’s performance?

Oppressively lifeless. Imagine an emeritus professor giving a lecture from a textbook.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful