Modern Africa: A Social and Political History

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Longman, 1994 - History - 300 pages

Basil Davidson's famous book -- now updated in a welcome Third Edition -- reviews the social and political history of Africa in the twentieth century. It takes the reader from the colonial era through the liberation movements to independence and beyond. It faces squarely the disappointments and breakdowns that have dulled the early successes of the post-colonial era; yet, for all the sorrows and uncertainties of Africa today, Basil Davidson shows how much has been achieved since decolonization, and the mood of his new final chapter is hopeful and buoyant.

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Contents

to 1930
11
to 1930
22
Key Ideas for Progress
31
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Basil Risbridger Davidson began his journalistic career as a member of the editorial staff of The Economist in 1938. That assignment was interrupted by World War II, during which Davidson served in the British army with distinction, receiving the Military Cross, the U.S. Bronze Star, and the Jugoslav Zasluge za Narod for his service in the Balkans, North Africa, and Italy. After being demobilized from the service, Davidson returned to journalism, first as the diplomatic correspondent of The Star and then as the Paris correspondent of The Times. He went on to become chief foreign lead writer and then special correspondent for the New Statesman, special correspondent for the Daily Herald, and lead writer for the Daily Mirror. As a journalist he published numerous works of fiction including Highway Forty (1949), Golden Horn (1952), The Rapids (1955), Lindy (1958), and The Andrassy Affair (1966) His nonfiction work includes Partisan Picture (1946), Germany from Potsdam to Partition (1948), and Daybreak in China (1953). Most of these were the outcome of his wartime experiences and subsequent career in journalism. During these years Davidson took an increasing interest in the African past. This interest brought him to the University of Ghana as a visiting professor in 1964 and as professor in 1965. Since that time he has devoted himself to the discovery of that history. He published his first work on Africa, Report on Southern Africa, in 1952. A host of other publications followed. His work has been characterized not only by his sympathy for Africa and for the Africans but also by the explication of the African past with a combination of the thoroughness of an investigative reporter and a style that has made his books popular with a large international audience. Although some of Davidson's earlier conclusions have been revised by later scholarly research, this in no way has diminished his influence on giving legitimacy to the history of Africa. His readable elucidation of African history has brought him many honors and awards over the years. His most effective exposition of the African past, however, may have been as author and narrator of a popular eight-part television documentary of Africa's history that aired in 1984. His most reflective thoughts on his research and writing on the African past may be found in his latest book, The Black Man's Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation State (1992).

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