Books on Africa


To prepare for my summer trip, I have started reading about Africa in general and Uganda in particular. Here is a list of books recommended by my professors and which I think might be interesting:

Lovers on the Nile. Richard Hall. It is written in the 1980s so there are few reviews available. It seems to be a biography of two explorers searching for the source of the Nile.

The White Nile and The Blue Nile. Alan Moorehead. Classic books about history of the Nile region. The former is about Central Africa while the latter is about Egypt and Ethiopia.

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: The Secret Agent Who Made the Pilgrimage to Mecca, Discovered the Kama Sutra, and Brought the Arabian Nights to the West. Edward Rice. Describes the life of Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, who explored India,
the Near East, and Africa, went to Mecca, discovered the Kama Sutra, and introduced the Arabian Nights to the West (Amazon).

Cry, The Beloved Country. Alan Paton. A story about Zulu paster Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom in the background of racial injustice in South Africa. A classic. I am planning to read it on the plane.

Uganda Since Independence: A Story of Unfulfilled Hopes. Phares Mutibwa. The author, a Ugandan historian, guides readers through the Uganda post-independence history with comments about impacts of different regimes. Useful reading for anyone who wants to know more about Uganda politics since independence. Here is an excerpt:

When it came to nation-building, Tanzania and Kenya, Uganda’s sister-nations in East Africa, were luckier than Uganda in many ways. Tanzania had tribes that were mostly small and scattered widely round the arid centre of the country, … , a common African language, Swahili. In Kenya the prolonged struggle for power and independence with European settlers proved to be of immense political advantage to Jomo Kenyatta in forging a united nation despite the existence of many tribes. In Uganda … the country contains ethnic groups, each with its unique cultural features and outlook … the population is divided into three major linguistic groups … these groups did not augur well for the new state.

The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda. Andrew Rice. About the violent reign of Idi Amin.

First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army. Peter Eichstaedt. American journalist unfolding the stories of child soldiers in Uganda.

I don’t think I will have the time to read all of them, but this list will provide a reference. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


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