Burden of Empire

Burden of Empire

An Appraisal of Western Colonialism in Africa South of the Sahara

Authors: Lewis H. Gann, Peter Duignan
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1692-3
Publication Date: 1/1/1967
Pages: 436

Since its publication in 1967, Burden of Empire has been widely praised and criticized for its controversial approach to the problem of colonialism in Africa. The authors have challenged the new "orthodoxy" about Africa—the belief that little but evil and exploitation has resulted from the era of European colonialism. Burden of Empire is, therefore, in the words of George Shepperson, "a provocative thesis [which] could set off a controversy among historians similar to that engendered by Robinson's and Gallagher's Africa and the Victorians."

"This long, comprehensive and well-documented book is to be welcomed as another very useful contribution to the important contemporary debate on the value of the Western presence in Africa y two authors who have already placed the world of scholarship in their debt… Special attention should be given to the authors' informed and salty comments on the various viewpoints and fashions of thought and emotion which are presently dominating various viewpoints and fashions of thought… and [their] astringent realism…" - Kenneth Kirkwood, Journal of Asian and African Studies, vol. 5, Jan.-Apr. 1970

"…this well-documented and carefully reasoned book is an excellent antidote to much romantic thinking about Africa's past and present… this is a book that should be read for it refocuses much of the debate on empire on factors that often get ignored in historical and political polemics." - George W. Baer, Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 7, 1969

"…this is one of the best books concerning colonialism." - Gerhard Jacob, Das historich-politische Buch, vol. 42, 1969

"…a stimulating book and a timely riposte to the current and widely held romanticized view of precolonial Africa and the sweeping condemnation of the role of Western imperialism on that continent." - Virginia Thompson, The Annals [The American Academy of Political and Social Science], vol. 379, 1968

"…the book stands out as a serious and thought-provoking study, which deserves attention from those who try to find an answer to problems related to the causes of backwardness in Africa and elsewhere." - International Review of Social History, 1968

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Lewis H. Gann

The late Lewis H. Gann was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution: he died in January 1997.

Peter Duignan

Peter J. Duignan was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He wrote extensively on comparative colonial history, modern European history, African documentation and bibliography, Hispanics in the United States, U.S. foreign policy, Africa, immigration to the United States, and the Atlantic Alliance (the U.S. and Europe since 1945). His research focused on the role of immigration in the making and remaking of America, Islamic fundamentalism, and Americans and African-Americans in Africa and Africans in America, a study of reciprocal relations.


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by Scott Harrison
on 4/12/2016
A Classic!
Duignan and Gann have left an enduring legacy of great thought on the subject.
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