Category: History / African
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 26 November 1992
Number of pages: 768
Prizes: Winner of WH Smith Annual Literary Award 1992.
In 1880 the continent of Africa was largely unexplored by Europeans. Less than thirty years later, only Liberia and Ethiopia remained unconquered by them. The rest - 10 million square miles with 110 million bewildered new subjects - had been carved up by five European powers (and one extraordinary individual) in the name of Commerce, Christianity, 'Civilization' and Conquest. The Scramble for Africa is the first full-scale study of that extraordinary episode in history.
Thomas Pakenham wrote what remains the best single book on the Boer War. In The Scramble for Africa he sets out to explore just why and how in a few short years from 1880 various European powers carved up the African continent. The European colonial take-over was ostensibly the product of a crusading zeal to free Africa from slavery and backwardness by way of Livingstone's 3 Cs - Commerce, Christianity and Civilization. The book does not suffer from being avowedly Eurocentric, but its chief virtue is dealing with a fascinating story of enormous complexity with absolute precision and clarity. Pakenham shows how this all became an exercise in the coercion and military conquest of the African peoples. This is like exploring history in a Rolls Royce. (Kirkus UK)
What the papers say:
'Magnificent, vigorous, comprehensive, compulsive reading' DAILY TELEGRAPH *'Memorable history on a grand scale . . . brilliant . . . thrilling, fast moving, imaginative, coherent' INDEPENDENT *' A phenomenal achievement . . . clear, authoritative and compelling' William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH *'Grim as well as gripping reading . . . Pakenham writes racily and humorously . . . a magnificent, swash buckling, blood-bolstered epic' OBSERVER
Thomas Pakenham is the author of THE MOUNTAINS OF RASSELAS, THE YEAR OF LIBERTY and THE BOER WAR. He divides his time between a terraced house I nnNorth Kensington, London and a crumbling castle in Ireland. He is married to the writer Valerie Pakenham and they have four children.
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