The Making of Contemporary Africa: The Development of African Society Since 1800

In This Review

The Making of Contemporary Africa: The Development of African Society Since 1800

By Bill Freund
Indiana University Press, 1984
357 pp. $19.50
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This ambitious, broadly cast synthesis ranges over African colonial history in search of the origins of that continent's current institutional crises. While endorsing parts of Lenin's analysis of imperialism, the author insists that "dependence" on the West is not the root of Africa's economic dilemma. He seems less clear about whether and how far Western economic patterns have taken hold at all in Africa (outside of South Africa). What he does show clearly is the persistence of pre-capitalist economic and social patterns throughout the colonial period and into the present.