The Imperial Experience in Sub-Saharan Africa Since 1870 (Magill's Literary Annual 1978)
Henry S. Wilson is an accomplished scholar and a specialist in the history of Africa south of the Sahara. In The Imperial Experience in Sub-Saharan Africa Since 1870 he tackles a subject rendered difficult by its scope and diversity. The resulting book is the eighth volume in the important new series, Europe and the World in the Age of Expansion. Wilson makes a significant contribution to this series, which is designed to incorporate new questions and interpretations unearthed by modern historical scholarship on Europe’s expansion in the modern era.
This volume provides a focus on both African and imperial history. Wilson claims that only when the two “are drawn together as mutually complementary factors can a satisfactory historiography of the imperial experience in Africa develop.” In this volume, the compelling and important reinterpretation of the imperial experience that Ronald Robinson, John Gallagher, and Alice Denny set forth in their well-known study Africa and the Victorians, which among other things accentuated the non-European or African factors in the partitioning of that continent, is placed in a wider perspective. Wilson acknowledges and uses the products of recent research on the African factor in the imperial equation, but he doubts that the imperial factor in that same equation can be reduced to a subsidiary element, a type of imperial response to a local situation. Although Wilson places his principal...
(The entire section is 1235 words.)
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