The African Experience; Curing Their Ills; & African Nemesis

John Iliffe explores a selection of new works on Africa

John Iliffe | Published in
  • The African Experience
    Roland Oliver - Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991 - xii + 275 pp. - £19.99
  • Curing Their Ills: Colonial Power And African Illness
    Megan Vaughan - Polity Press, 1991 - xii + 218 pp. - £35 (hardback), £11.95 (paperback)
  • African Nemesis: War And Revolution In Southern Africa 1945-2010
    Paul L Moorcraft - Brassey's, 1990 - xxix + 506 pp. - £36

The discovery of the African past has been the most important advance in historical study since the Second World War. It has flourished when scholars have seen Africans as the creators of their own history and have relied on sources which Africans have produced: their material remains, languages, traditions, institutions, and written documents. Whenever the subject has deserted those principles, its vitality has waned.

Roland Oliver has understood this. Since he was appointed in 1948 to the first lectureship in African history at a British university, he has been the subject's chief co-ordinator and nobody in the world has made a more important contribution to it. His latest book, written in his retirement, is his best and is a fitting climax to his career.

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