'A superb book...genuinely innovative' Jack Spence OBE, King's College London
Over the last half century, sub-Saharan Africa has not had one history, but many. Histories that have intertwined, converged and diverged. They have involved a continuing process of decolonization and state-building, conflict, economic problems but also progress and the perpetual interplay of structure and agency.
This new view of those histories looks in particular at the relationship between territorial, economic, political and societal structures and human agency in the complex and sometimes confusing development of an independent Africa. The story starts well before the granting of independence to Ghana in 1957, but the book also looks at Africa in the closing decades of the old millennium and opening ones of the new. This is a book, too, about the history of the peoples of Africa and their struggle for economic development against the global economic straitjacket into which they were strapped by colonial rule and decolonisation. The importance of imposed or inherited structures, whether the global capitalist system, of which Africa is a subordinate part, or the artificial and often inappropriate state borders and political systems is discussed in the light of the exercise of agency by African peoples, political movements and leaders.
This unusually accessible study of Africa's many histories since 1970 owes its distinctiveness to the author's career...a thoughtful, passionate account by a senior BBC journalist who spent three decades working on and in Africa. His intimacy with places and people give the book a grittiness that library research never provides.
A superb book...genuinely innovative, demonstrating a fine understanding of the role of structure and agency in the continent's 'many histories'. The argument will appeal to an audience seeking a convincing and well-researched account.