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A story with the power to change how people view the last years of colonialism in East Africa, The Boy Is Gone portrays the struggle for Kenyan independence in the words of a freedom fighter whose life spanned the twentieth century's most dramatic transformations. Born into an impoverished farm family in the Meru Highlands, Japhlet Thambu grew up wearing goatskins and lived to stand before his community dressed for business in a pressed suit, crisp tie, and freshly polished shoes. For most of the last four decades, however, he dressed for work in the primary school classroom and on his lush tea farm. The General, as he came to be called from his leadership of the Mau Mau uprising sixty years ago, narrates his life story in conversation with Laura Lee Huttenbach, a young American who met him while backpacking in Kenya in 2006. A gifted storyteller with a keen appreciation for language and a sense of responsibility as a repository of his people's history, the General talks of his childhood in the voice of a young boy, his fight against the British in the voice of a soldier, and his long life in the voice of shrewd elder. While his life experiences are his alone, his story adds immeasurably to the long history of decolonization as it played out across Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Swahili, or more properly Kiswahili, was once an obscure littoral dialect of an East African Bantu language. Today more than one hundred million people use Swahili, making it one of the few truly international languages: Swahili is to eastern and central Africa what English is to the world. How this came about and why, of all African languages, it happened only to Swahili is the story that John M. Mugane sets out to explore. The remarkable adaptability of Swahili has allowed Africans — and others — to tailor the language to their needs, extending its influence far beyond its place of origin. The Story of Swahili calls for a reevaluation of the widespread but fallacious assumption that cultural superiority, military conquest, and economic dominance determine the prosperity of any given language. The Story of Swahili is about where languages come from, where they are now, and where they are headed, using the success of Swahili as a convenient point of entry. As a language that arose from contact between peoples from diverse cultures, Swahili is an excellent conveyor of the history of communities in eastern and central Africa as well as their associations throughout the Indian Ocean world. It is also a vibrant, living language that continues to adapt to the changing demands of global trade, technology, and communication.
In The Mau Mau Rebellion, the author describes the background to and the course of a short but brutal late colonial campaign in Kenya. The Mau Mau, a violent and secretive Kikuyu society, aimed to restore the proud tribe’s pre-colonial superiority and rule. The 1940s saw initial targeting of Africans working for the colonial government and by 1952 the situation had deteriorated so badly that a State of Emergency was declared. The plan for mass arrests leaked and many leaders and supporters escaped to the bush where the gangs formed a military structure. Brutal attacks on both whites and loyal natives caused morale problems and local police and military were overwhelmed. Reinforcements were called in, and harsh measures including mass deportation, protected camps, fines, confiscation of property and extreme intelligence gathering employed were employed. War crimes were committed by both sides. As this well researched book demonstrates the campaign was ultimately successful militarily, politically the dye was cast and paradoxically colonial rule gave way to independence in 1956.
In 1975, Robert “Raven” Kraft made a New Year’s Resolution to run eight miles on Miami’s South Beach each evening. Over 125,000 miles and seven hurricanes later, he has not missed one sunset—and he has changed the lives of thousands who have run with him. From all fifty states and over 85 countries, across all age groups and backgrounds, people come to run with Raven. In the process they find friendship, inspiration—and a nickname. Among them is author Laura Lee “White Lightning” Huttenbach, who has logged over a thousand miles of Raven Runs. Here she explores the stories of dozens of others about why they started running with Raven—and why they keep coming back. Raven is a legend of the running world, and his story is an invaluable reminder that the journey means little without the connections forged along the way. “Raven left an indelible impression upon me, as he has countless others. Raven, long may you run.” —Dean Karnazes, New York Times bestselling author of Ultramarathon Man “An inspiring tale of unbreakable discipline and one-of-a-kind endurance.” —Gerald Posner, New York Times bestselling author of Miami Babylon “Raven’s tale of perseverance, understanding, and courage will inspire anyone.” —Publishers Weekly
Barack Obama’s political ascendancy has focused considerable global attention on the history of Kenya generally and the history of the Luo community particularly. From politicos populating the blogosphere and bookshelves in the U.S and Kenya, to tourists traipsing through Obama’s ancestral home, a variety of groups have mobilized new readings of Kenya’s past in service of their own ends. Through narratives placing Obama into a simplified, sweeping narrative of anticolonial barbarism and postcolonial “tribal” violence, the story of the United States president’s nuanced relationship to Kenya has been lost amid stereotypical portrayals of Africa. At the same time, Kenyan state officials have aimed to weave Obama into the contested narrative of Kenyan nationhood. Matthew Carotenuto and Katherine Luongo argue that efforts to cast Obama as a “son of the soil” of the Lake Victoria basin invite insights into the politicized uses of Kenya’s past. Ideal for classroom use and directed at a general readership interested in global affairs, Obama and Kenya offers an important counterpoint to the many popular but inaccurate texts about Kenya’s history and Obama’s place in it as well as focused, thematic analyses of contemporary debates about ethnic politics, “tribal” identities, postcolonial governance, and U.S. African relations.
A new era in world history began when Atlantic maritime trade among Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas opened up in the fifteenth century, setting the stage for massive economic and cultural change. In Making Money, Colleen Kriger examines the influence of the global trade on the Upper Guinea Coast two hundred years later—a place and time whose study, in her hands, imparts profound insights into Anglo-African commerce and its wider milieu. A stunning variety of people lived in this coastal society, struggling to work together across deep cultural divides and in the process creating a dynamic creole culture. Kriger digs further than any previous historian of Africa into the records of England’s Royal African Company to illuminate global trade patterns, the interconnectedness of Asian, African, and European markets, and—most remarkably—the individual lives that give Making Money its human scale. By inviting readers into the day-to-day workings of early modern trade in the Atlantic basin, Kriger masterfully reveals the rich social relations at its core. Ultimately, this accessible book affirms Africa’s crucial place in world history during a transitional period, the early modern era.
A major work of history that for the first time reveals the violence and terror at the heart of Britain's civilizing mission in Kenya As part of the Allied forces, thousands of Kenyans fought alongside the British in World War II. But just a few years after the defeat of Hitler, the British colonial government detained nearly the entire population of Kenya's largest ethnic minority, the Kikuyu-some one and a half million people. The compelling story of the system of prisons and work camps where thousands met their deaths has remained largely untold-the victim of a determined effort by the British to destroy all official records of their attempts to stop the Mau Mau uprising, the Kikuyu people's ultimately successful bid for Kenyan independence. Caroline Elkins, an assistant professor of history at Harvard University, spent a decade in London, Nairobi, and the Kenyan countryside interviewing hundreds of Kikuyu men and women who survived the British camps, as well as the British and African loyalists who detained them. The result is an unforgettable account of the unraveling of the British colonial empire in Kenya-a pivotal moment in twentieth- century history with chilling parallels to America's own imperial project. Imperial Reckoning is the winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

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