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The Scramble For Africa [Paperback]

T Pakenham
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Paperback CDN $27.54  
Paperback, Dec 1 1992 --  

Book Description

Dec 1 1992

White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent
from 1876 to 1912

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In scarcely half a generation during the late 1800s, six European powers sliced up Africa like a cake. The pieces went to Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Belgium; among them, they acquired 30 new colonies and 110 million subjects. Although African rulers resisted, many battles were one-sided massacres. In 1904 the Hereros, a tribe of southwest southwest, if not a country name Africa, revolted against German rule. Their punishment was genocide--24,000 driven into the desert to starve; those who surrendered were sent to forced labor camps to be worked to death. In a dramatic, gripping chronicle, Pakenham ( The Boer War ) floodlights the "dark continent" and its systematic rape by Europe. At center stage are a motley band of explorers, politicians, evangelists, mercenaries, journalists and tycoons blinded by romantic nationalism or caught up in the scramble for loot, markets and slaves. In an epilogue Pakenham tells how the former colonial powers still dominate the economies of the African nations, most of which are under one-party or dictatorial rule. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In his excellent study of the Boer War ( The Boer War , LJ 11/1/79), Pakenham demonstrated his ability to handle a great mass of material and a complicated subject in a fashion that produces a readable, highly credible account. Here he turns those same skills to good effect in the infinitely more complex issue of the European exploitation of Africa, which followed close on the heels of exploration of the so-called "dark continent's" interior. The result is a sweeping narrative, refreshingly old fashioned in its appreciation of the fact that imperialism did have some virtues, which offers as good an introduction to the "scramble" as has ever been written. Essential for both public and academic libraries.
- Jim Casada, Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book Dec 12 2003
I have not read it all but when I do pick it up it is very hard to put down. This is a subject that most Americans know little about. I consider this 'good history'. Not ideological. And for the most part the action never stops.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Complex Tragedy July 21 2003
'We are now very sorry indeed, particularly in the killing and eating of the parts of its employees.' - King Koko and chiefs of the Brassmen to the Prince of Wales, 1895
Humanity laid bare. Pakenham tells us the story of two worlds in collision, the story of ourselves, treachery and slaughter, exploitation, slavery, and cannibalism, vanity and greed, and, of course, unfaithful wives. Kings, bureaucrats, missionaries, humanitarians, merchants, and soldiers populate his tale, sometimes far too many to keep track of. Pages flash by in an instant as the anxious reader awaits the inevitable. This book rivals any work of fiction, and Pakenham writes it with a great wit and enormous skill. Most importantly, he leaves moralistic preaching behind and focuses on the story, albeit with a special taste for its ironies and tragedies. Unfortunately, the reader will have to look elsewhere for a history of Africa and its indigenous peoples. Pakenham crams so much information in that the background story can't possibly fit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History book that reads like a novel Nov. 27 2002
What a great book, I learned so much about how Africa was shaped through this book, and Packenhams style is so engaging to me that this book reads like a novel. The suspense when Stanley emerges from the jungle, and when Churchill charges on horse back into battle are really stuff of fantasy but basically its all true.
Of course its not all glory, lots of bad things were done and a lot of the todays trouble can be blamed on this period.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Deceiving Feb. 9 2002
If you believe Britain made what Africa is today than this is the book for you. Pakenham portrays the scramble for Africa as a two-player game between Britain and France, with little attention being paid to the portuguese, german, italian or spanish presence and interests in the continent. As a result, Pakenham's book is really a book about the British scramble for Africa, neglecting some of the most curious cultural and political aspects of the heterogeneous european presence in Africa. Focused in Britain, Pakenham also misses the opportunity to explore the reaction of african cultures to colonial advances and the position of independent african states. It is therefore a rather poor book and one in which prejudice against other european colonial powers is too often evident.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account of The Scramble Dec 7 2001
By John
Africa--except for South Africa and Egypt--weren't the prizes that India was. The Great Game involved much more attention. However, it is an unmistakeable fact that between the 1870's, just after America's Civil War and final push Westward, Britain and France conquered most of Africa along with Belgium, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain as more marginal players.
A fascinating read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars He's Scooped The Pool! Aug. 23 2001
Nineteenth century Europe was stunned when that brash American journalist-cum-conquistador Henry Stanley captured the much-coveted Pool (to be named Stanley Pool) at the foot of the Congo River, where lies modern Kinshasa. With that, Belgium's King Leopold had control of the Congo trade, making him the most powerful man in Africa. It was a power he was to abuse terribly, and Pakenham spares us none of the awful details. In this panoramic study we also explore the French conquest of Niger, German misbehavior in Namibia, British defeat and redemption in Sudan, Anglo-French perfidity in Egypt and Italian misdeeds in Ethiopia. In presenting this story from a European perspective, Pakenham taps into the ambivalence of the Scramble: it was an era which threw up heroic figures (Livingston, Brazza and young Winston Churchill, to name a few); still, the Scramble was a deeply cowardly enterprise: the subjugation of the weak by the strong.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating account May 11 2001
Thomas Pakenham's sprawling story of the slicing up of a continent by European powers is fascinating, well-written, well worth your time. It's interesting that surprisingly little of the colonization of Africa between 1876 and 1912 came by direct military conquest. No, England, France and Germany (principally) sank their teeth into the continent mostly in less direct ways that were just as dismaying. "The Scramble for Africa" presents a panorama of villains and heroes, both white and black, but paints it with sufficient shades of gray. Much of what happens is despicable to us today, but Pakenham helps us understand the whys. The book is not perfect. For American eyes, Pakenham assumes too much knowledge of British history and its political system. There are a lot of names to keep track of, and there is an occasional lack of clarity as to what precisely is going on. Pakenham also has a curious habit of not always making clear who is being quoted. Still, this is a strong, well-written, fascinating account of a strange, exciting period in world history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your time Dec 27 2000
By A Customer
The Scamble for Africa is an excellant book, going deep into the colonization of Africa by the white man and the crimes against humanity which they commited. It is very interesting and goes into great detail. It has many historical figures to keep track of, but that is of no importance. I especially enjoy and recommend the chapter "Rhode's War". I enjoyed the Boer war chapters. It is very good for a rainy day and even more for research. It is good for people who enjoy history or are curious
about European colonies. It spans from 1878 to 1904. It is an excellant book on a seldom studied subject.
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