THE BLACK MAN'S BURDEN by Basil Davidson

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An African historian argues that the decision of Africa's leaders to form nation states based on fundamentally flawed European models reproduced the sectarian strife of Europe in Africa. 12,500 first printing.

About Basil Davidson

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Basil Risbridger Davidson began his journalistic career as a member of the editorial staff of The Economist in 1938. That assignment was interrupted by World War II, during which Davidson served in the British army with distinction, receiving the Military Cross, the U.S. Bronze Star, and the Jugoslav Zasluge za Narod for his service in the Balkans, North Africa, and Italy. After being demobilized from the service, Davidson returned to journalism, first as the diplomatic correspondent of The Star and then as the Paris correspondent of The Times. He went on to become chief foreign lead writer and then special correspondent for the New Statesman, special correspondent for the Daily Herald, and lead writer for the Daily Mirror. As a journalist he published numerous works of fiction including Highway Forty (1949), Golden Horn (1952), The Rapids (1955), Lindy (1958), and The Andrassy Affair (1966) His nonfiction work includes Partisan Picture (1946), Germany from Potsdam to Partition (1948), and Daybreak in China (1953). Most of these were the outcome of his wartime experiences and subsequent career in journalism. During these years Davidson took an increasing interest in the African past. This interest brought him to the University of Ghana as a visiting professor in 1964 and as professor in 1965. Since that time he has devoted himself to the discovery of that history. He published his first work on Africa, Report on Southern Africa, in 1952. A host of other publications followed. His work has been characterized not only by his sympathy for Africa and for the Africans but also by the explication of the African past with a combination of the thoroughness of an investigative reporter and a style that has made his books popular with a large international audience. Although some of Davidson's earlier conclusions have been revised by later scholarly research, this in no way has diminished his influence on giving legitimacy to the history of Africa. His readable elucidation of African history has brought him many honors and awards over the years. His most effective exposition of the African past, however, may have been as author and narrator of a popular eight-part television documentary of Africa's history that aired in 1984. His most reflective thoughts on his research and writing on the African past may be found in his latest book, The Black Man's Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation State (1992).
Published January 1, 1992 by Times Book Co.. 368 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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For 40 years, Davidson (Can Africa Survive?, 1974, etc.) has fought to secure Africa's place in world history.


Publishers Weekly

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The postcolonial countries of Africa turned to nationalism as a liberating force, but as Davidson observes in this profound inquiry, the modern African nation-state has meant harsh dictatorships, massive poverty and ever-increasing transfer of wealth to the industrialized world.


London Review of Books

Though food production, assisted by good rains after a period of drought, actually increased in Tanzania during the first few years after ‘villageisation’, the production of cash crops – as distinct from food surpluses offered for sale – declined drastically.


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