Africa: A Biography of the Continent
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"Awe-inspiring . . . a masterly synthesis."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Deeply penetrating, intensely thought-provoking and thoroughly informed . . . one of the most important general surveys of Africa that has been produced in the last decade." --The Washington Post
In 1978, paleontologists in East Africa discovered the earliest evidence of our divergence from the apes: three pre-human footprints, striding away from a volcano, were preserved in the petrified surface of a mudpan over three million years ago. Out of Africa, the world's most ancient and stable landmass, Homo sapiens dispersed across the globe. And yet the continent that gave birth to human history has long been woefully misunderstood and mistreated by the rest of the world.
In a book as splendid in its wealth of information as it is breathtaking in scope, British writer and photojournalist John Reader brings to light Africa's geology and evolution, the majestic array of its landforms and environments, the rich diversity of its peoples and their ways of life, the devastating legacies of slavery and colonialism as well as recent political troubles and triumphs. Written in simple, elegant prose and illustrated with Reader's own photographs, Africa: A Biography of the Continent is an unforgettable book that will delight the general reader and expert alike.
"Breathtaking in its scope and detail." --San Francisco Chronicle
feeds by preference on human rather than animal blood: Anopheles gambiae. This particular mosquito also prefers the kind of open, moist, and well-vegetated environments that people created as they began farming. Forest clearings increased the number of breeding places available to the mosquito. Indeed, Anopheles gambiae has been described as a ‘weed species’ proliferating in the gashes that farmers made in the natural environment.14 With the advance of agriculture Anopheles gambiae supplanted
settlements, as well as between them. Houses on the highest terrace at the core of the Mapela settlement, for instance, were built with thick floors and walls – upper-class residences, they might be called, quite distinct from the flimsy wattle and daub dwellings of their neighbours. At Mapungubwe, ninety-seven individuals had been buried at random throughout the settlements at the foot of the hill; their skeletons were found in what had been cattle enclosures, living areas, and ash heaps.
Press Cambridge History of Africa see Oliver and Fage (eds.), 1975 – 86 Cameron, V.L., 1877, Across Africa, 2 vols., London Campbell, Bernard, 1983, Human Ecology, London, Heinemann Cann, R.L., Stoneking, M., and Wilson, A.C., 1987, ‘Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution’, Nature, 325, pp. 31 – 6 Cannadine, David, 1983, ‘The context, performance and meaning of ritual: the British monarchy and the “invention of tradition”, c. 1820 – 1977’, in Hobsbawm and Ranger, pp. 101 – 64 Cape Monthly
savanna grassland is actually stimulated by grazing.5 Grass plants subjected to moderate levels of grazing produced twice as much edible material as plants (of the same species) which were left untouched. And some grasses demonstrate an extraordinary ability to maintain their optimum production levels under conditions which a cattle farmer in temperate climes might have described as severe overcropping. The grass Kyllina nervosa, for instance, clipped daily, is capable of producing 11.6 grams of
Nubians had become rich and powerful from handling the resources of others. Predisposed towards the Egyptian model of centralized authority and power, the local Nubian rulers had created a powerful independent state by 1000 BC, known to the Egyptians as Kush. Once they had assumed total control of trading and cultural links, the kings of Kush subsequently became powerful enough to conquer even Egypt itself in 730 BC, where they ruled for more than sixty years – a period of Egyptian history known