The authors show that the oft-told narrative of a monolithic imperial power ruling inexorably over passive African victims no longer stands scrutiny; rather, at every turn, Africans and Britons interacted with one another in a complex set of relationships that involved as much cooperation and negotiation as resistance and force, whether during the era of the slave trade, the world wars, or the period of decolonization. The British presence provoked a wide range of responses, reactions, and transformations in various aspects of African life; but at the same time, the experience of empire in Africa – and its ultimate collapse – also compelled the British to view themselves and their empire in new ways.
Written by an Africanist and a historian of imperial Britain and illustrated with maps and photographs, Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 provides a uniquely rich perspective for understanding both African and British history.
Myles Osborne is Assistant Professor of African History at the University of Colorado Boulder. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2008, and is the author of Ethnicity and Empire in Kenya: Loyalty and Martial Race among the Kamba, c. 1800 to the Present (Cambridge, 2014). He also recently edited The Life and Times of General China: Mau Mau and the End of Empire in Kenya (Markus Wiener, 2015), and has published articles in a variety of journals including the Journal of African History.
Susan Kingsley Kent is Professor of History at University of Colorado-Boulder. Her publications include Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914; Making Peace: The Reconstruction of Gender in Interwar Britain; Gender and Power in Britain, 1640-1990; Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Interwar Britain; The Women's War: Gender and Violence in Colonial Nigeria, 1929, with Misty Bastian and Marc Matera; Gender and History; and Queen Victoria: Gender, Empire, and the Gender of Empire.
General Alex Dumas is a man almost unknown today, yet his story is strikingly familiar—because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used his larger-than-life feats as inspiration for such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
But, hidden behind General Dumas's swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: he was the son of a black slave—who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time. Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas made his way to Paris, where he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution—until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.
The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. TIME magazine called The Black Count "one of those quintessentially human stories of strength and courage that sheds light on the historical moment that made it possible." But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.
Originally published in 1987.
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