Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century African History

Article excerpt

Encyclopedia of TwentiethCentury African History.

Edited by Paul Tiyambe Zeleza and Dickson Eyoh. London: Routledge, 2003. Pp. xix, 652. L95 I $150.

This is a handy one-volume encyclopedia of twentieth-century Africa, the work of more than 150 scholars, most of whom are Africans at American universities. A one-volume encyclopedia must be thematic. There are no biographies, so the people who shaped twentieth-century Africa must be sought under general topics. The editors, however, provide helpful indications on how to use the encyclopedia at the beginning of the volume, and there are also a list of entries and an index.

The various categories of entry are distinguished by length. There are 58 entries of 600 words each, dealing with 58 major African cities. Entries of 1,000 words-53 in all-deal with the countries of Africa. Overviews of particular events or processes, such as World War I and international trade, are covered in 2,000-word entries. The continent's five regions are described in entries of 3,000 words each, as are a variety of topics such as race and ethnicity or telecommunications. Finally, still longer entries of 4,000 words offer intensive analysis and interpretation of themes in twentieth-century African history. The entries include a helpful system of cross-referencing in bold type.

The encyclopedia covers African and world organizations, economic and political history, education, the environment, population, major languages, environmental concerns, literature, visual arts, music, dance, theater, cinema, radio and television, urbanization, youth and sports, and many other topics of interest. …

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