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The Black Man's Burden


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Africa without history; the road not taken; shadows of neglected ancestors; tribalism and the new nationalism; the rise of the nation-state; the challenge of nationalism; the black man's burden; pirates in power; the Euopean parallel.


...truly a tour de force, a bold and stimulating work. With skill and sympathy, Basil Davidson sets up the lines of a debate that has long been waiting to be born. - Ivor Wilks, author of Asante in the Nineteenth Century Few people know sub-Saharan Africa better than Basil Davidson. Few people know more about its history. None has analysed its heritage and its dramatic predicament today with greater perceptiveness and passion. This is a book of major importance. The Black Man's Burden is not only about Africa, but about ethnicity, nations, and the problem of living together in society everywhere. - Eric Hobsbawm, author of Nations & Nationalism Basil Davidson gives us an informed and concerned reflection on Africa's current deep disappointments with the nation-state. His exploration of its relation to the wasted years of colonialism and also its parallel with the dramatic developments of Eastern Europe offer a clear and illuminating explanation. This is exciting reading. - Immanuel Wallerstein It is a great read. His attacking power springs from lucidity, humanity and dramatic artistry...Of the recent general books on nationalism this is the most useful one to recommend to undergraduate historians - John Lonsdale in JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY In this sustained attack upon nation-statism and its oppressive tendencies, Davidson brings to bear his vast knowledge of both Africa and the Balkans. This is a knowledge born not only of study, but of tramping through the bush with the guerrillas of Vojvodina and Angola. Davidson's admiration for the democratizing effects of grass-roots mobilization goes right back to his youthful years with Tito's partisans; and his attack upon rampant nationalism in Africa is equally relevant, as he demonstrates, to the bloody disintegration of Tito's federation... - Gerald Moore in LE MONDE DIPLOMATIQUE

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