The Story of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland

The Story of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland

The Story of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland

The Story of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland

Excerpt

This is the first attempt to survey the history of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland in a single book, apart from the incidental treatment of it in Professor Walker's authoritative History of Southern Africa. The justification for making such an attempt at all must be found in the fact that since 1953 the three territories have been bound together, for better or worse, in a federation whose present problems can best be understood in the light of the history of its component parts. But their history is not so much a single story as a number of separate stories, more or less inter-linked, rather like the plot of Pickwick Papers. Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland have not much history in common, and although Northern Rhodesia, which is intermediate in much more than a geographical sense, can to some extent be said to share its past with each of them, it is so far from providing the historian with a convenient bridge between them that for the most part it must be dealt with separately.

Where a common thread of narrative is lacking, the only available unifying element is the judgment of the historian himself, exercised through the device of comparison and contrast. Besides, in a comparatively short and comprehensive book such as this, a good deal of selection and interpretation are unavoidable if the work is to be more than a bare chronicle of events. But the historian's judgment and interpretation can only be his own: there is no such thing as 'the verdict of history'. My own preference in the writing of history is to try to minimise this subjective element, by marshalling the facts as fully as possible and letting them speak for themselves. I am, indeed, fully . . .

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