'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.