People And Empires In African History; & Prelude To Magdala

Roland Oliver assesses

Roland Oliver | Published in
  • People And Empires In African History - Essays in Memory of Michael Crowder
    Edited by J.F. Ade Ajayi and J.D.Y. Peel – Longman, 1992 - 254 pp. - £36
  • Prelude To Magdala
    Percy Arnold – Bellew, 1991 - 336 pp. - £27.50

The longer-standing readers of History Today will vividly remember the changes of appearance and character imparted to the magazine by Michael Crowder during his brief editorship from 1979 to 1981. It emerged from his treatment larger, glossier and, above all, globalised in its coverage. Michael took it from the drawing-room to the library table, while at the same time setting its circulation on the upward course which it has since maintained. It was no mean achievement in itself, but for him it was only an interlude in a career spent mainly in African universities and in the service of African history and African arts. All this is now fitly honoured in the handsome volume edited by his close friends, Jacob Ajayi and John Peel, which commemorates his untimely death in 1988.

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