Empires in the Sun: The Struggle for the Mastery of Africa
Author(s): Lawrence James
The one hundred year history of how Europe coerced the African continent into its various empires--and the resulting story of how Africa succeeded in decolonization.In this dramatic (and often tragic) story of an era that radically changed the course of world history, Lawrence James investigates how, within one hundred years, Europeans persuaded and coerced Africa into becoming a subordinate part of the modern world. His narrative is laced with the experiences of participants and onlookers and introduces the men and women who, for better or worse, stamped their wills on Africa. The continent was a magnet for the high-minded, the adventurous, the philanthropic, the unscrupulous. Visionary pro-consuls rubbed shoulders with missionaries, explorers, soldiers, big-game hunters, entrepreneurs, and physicians.
Between 1830 and 1945, Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Italy and the United States exported their languages, laws, culture, religions, scientific and technical knowledge and economic systems to Africa. The colonial powers imposed administrations designed to bring stability and peace to a continent that appeared to lack both. The justification for occupation was emancipation from slavery--and the common assumption that late nineteenth-century Europe was the summit of civilization.
By 1945 a transformed continent was preparing to take charge of its own affairs, a process of decolonization that took a quick twenty years. This magnificent history also pauses to ask: what did not happen and why?
'The Second World War points back towards a colonial past in Africa, to bygone scrambles for imperial power. It also glances forward to decolonisation. This global conflict is at the centre of Lawrence James's excellent survey of African history from 1830 to 1990 ... Empires in the Sun is a brisk, well-written and jaunty account of European empire-building in Africa ... Intrigue and devious political calculations propel the fast-moving narrative ... The book is a timely reminder of the complexity of international politics, and the nuanced balance of forces that have shaped our modern world' -- Kwasi Kwarteng THE TIMES 'A brisk, colourful account of the past 200 years of African history ... A good informative read' EVENING STANDARD
Lawrence James was a founding member of the University of York and then took a research degree at Merton College, Oxford. After a distinguished teaching career he became a full-time writer in 1985 and has emerged as one of the outstanding narrative historians of his generation for works including The Rise and Fall of the British Empire and Churchill and Empire: Portrait of an Imperialist.
- : 9781474604383
- : Orion Publishing Group, Limited
- : Weidenfeld & Nicolson
- : 0.585
- : November 2016
- : books
- : Lawrence James
- : Paperback
- : 416