Cover of: The search for Africa | Basil Davidson

The search for Africa

a history in the making

Published by James Currey in London .
Written in English.

About the Book

For more than forty years, Basil Davidson has been writing on Africa, helping to lift the curtain of ignorance that has too long cloaked that astonishing continent with its many vibrant peoples. In more than twenty books, from The Lost Cities of Africa to The African Genius to The Black Man's Burden, he has contributed to one of the truly liberating achievements of the twentieth century : the reinstallation of Africa's peoples within the culture of the world. Moreover, Davidson has done so with a spirit of infectious adventure and vitality and commitment. That spirit, fleshed out with deep research and attired in elegant style, has drawn countless readers to subjects otherwise approachable only by experts. Taken together, his many writings have made the excitement of intellectual discovery palpable for us all. In the course of his fruitful career Davidson has written many shorter pieces as well, and the best of these are collected for the first time in The Search for Africa. These penetrating essays, essential to understanding the passionate spirit of this founder of modern African studies, provide the background and perspective needed to understand a continent whose upheavals continue to shake the world. In them, Basil Davidson joins the heated debate over Africanism, Eurocentricism, and the historical role of Africa. He does so with unmatched erudition and solidarity. Readers new to his work will appreciate Davidson's clarity of style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Because he has a passion and respect for African culture and the African peoples, Davidson debunks Western myths about Africa, and anyone ignorant of its realities will learn much from his engaged presentation. His very tone is that of a man who is primarily concerned with truth. The Search for Africa begins with an essay on the roots and contributions of Africa's ancient kingdoms and proceeds to a meditation on the invention of racism and the meanings of Africanism. Next is a dissection of the South African system of legalized servitude, its origins and consequences. This is followed by an examination of the struggles of Africans to free themselves from the imperial powers, in the course of which Davidson grapples with the ambiguities of nationalism. The book ends with a reflection on what the author calls the "curse of Columbus." In a wider sense, The Search for Africa forms a bridge between the three parallel enterprises of history, culture, and politics. It reveals how culture justifies itself by history, how history influences culture, and how politics threads its way through both. It is an indispensable capstone to a remarkable career. - Jacket flap.

Edition Notes

American title: The search for africa, history, culture, politics.

Includes bibliographical references (p. [343]-359).

Other Titles
Search for Africa, history, culture, politics.


Dewey Decimal Class
Library of Congress
DT30.5 .D384 1994

The Physical Object

x, 373 p. ;
Number of pages

ID Numbers

Open Library
Internet Archive
0852557140, 0852557191
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April 21, 2015 Edited by Bryan Tyson Edited without comment.
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October 24, 2008 Created by ImportBot Initial record created, from University of Toronto MARC record.