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In this riveting new book, John Laband, pre-eminent historian of the Zulu Kingdom, tackles some of the questions that swirl around the assassination in 1828 of King Shaka, the celebrated founder of the Zulu Kingdom and war leader of legendary brilliance: Why did prominent members of the royal house conspire to kill him? Just how significant a part did the white hunter-traders settled at Port Natal play in their royal patron's downfall? Why were Shaka's relations with the British Cape Colony key to his survival? And why did the powerful army he had created acquiesce so tamely in the usurpation of the throne by Dingane, his half-brother and assassin?
In his search for answers Laband turns to the Zulu voice heard through recorded oral testimony and praise-poems, and to the written accounts and reminiscences of the Port Natal trader-hunters and the despatches of Cape officials. In the course of probing and assessing this evidence the author vividly brings the early Zulu kingdom and its inhabitants to life. He throws light on this elusive character of and his own unpredictable intentions, while illuminating the fears and ambitions of those attempting to prosper and survive in his hazardous kingdom: a kingdom that nevertheless endured in all its essential characteristics, particularly militarily, until its destruction fifty one years later in 1879 by the British; and whose fate, legend has it, Shaka predicted with his dying breath.
In A Short History Of South Africa, Gail Nattrass, historian and educator, presents the reader with a brief, general account of South Africa’s history, from the very beginning to the present day, from the first evidence of hominid existence, early settlement pre- and post-European arrival to the warfare through the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries that led to the eventual establishment of modern South Africa.
This readable and thorough account, illustrated with maps and photographs, is a culmination of a lifetime of researching and teaching the broad spectrum of South African history, collecting stories, taking students on tours around the country, and working with distinguished historians.
Nattrass’s passion for her subject shines through, whether she is elucidating the reader on early humans in the cradle of humankind, or the tumultuous twentieth-century processes that shaped the democracy that is South Africa today. A must for all those interested in South Africa, within the country and abroad.
Maqoma was the most renowned Xhosa chief of South Africa’s 19th century Cape-Xhosa Wars and arguably one of Africa’s greatest resistance leaders of the colonial period. He was a man of considerable intellect and eloquence, striving to maintain traditional social structures and the power of the Xhosa royalty in the face of colonial depredations and dispossession.
When accommodation and diplomacy failed, Maqoma led Xhosa forces in three separate wars against the British-ruled Cape Colony. Evidence suggests that Maqoma made covert attempts to undermine the Nongqawuse Cattle Killing prophecies of 1856-57 which brought devastation on the Xhosa nation. Imprisoned on Robben Island for 12 years, Maqoma was paroled in 1869. When he attempted to resettle on his stolen land, however, he was re-banished to the infamous island prison, where he died under mysterious circumstances in 1873. And yet his name lives on.
In vivid prose the author records the life of a leader of exrtaordinary tenacity, flexibility, political and martial skills, who tragically became the victim of colonial domination.
Paul Kruger: Toesprake en korrespondensie van 1881–1900 probeer om die klem te plaas op minder bekende briefwisseling en optredes van Kruger om sodoende ’n verteenwoordigende beeld van staatspresident Kruger se werksaamhede en standpunte aan te bied. Die teks is deeglik toegelig met ophelderende voetnote. Verder is ’n algemene inleiding, agtergrondsinligting en -ontleding verskaf by elke toepaslike breër tydperk in Kruger se lewe tot 1900.
Die beeld wat van Kruger na vore kom uit ’n deeglike ontleding van veral sy minder bekende korrespondensie en toesprake, verskil dikwels ingrypend van dit wat oor ’n lang tydperk in publikasies oor hom aangebied is. Hierdie publikasie vervul daarom ’n belangrike behoefte: Dit stel die leser in staat om regstreeks deur die lees en bestudering van Kruger se standpunte tot eie en nuwe gevolgtrekkings te kom.
This is the story of a brave warrior and “a formidable tactician, a masterly politician and a brilliant orator”; a Xhosa Nkosi who destroyed a British Navy troopship that threatened to annihilate his nation in 1852; the story of how the attack was carried out by a few African black Xhosa people.
This is the story of a lone abalone diver who spent scores of hours investigating the wreck of HMS ‘Birkenhead’ between 1958 and 1988. This is the story how the irrefutable evidence of sabotage was found. This is the story of Britain´s mindless invasion into Xhosaland.
This is the lamentable story how one of the bravest African Royals was buried in a pauper´s hole on Robben Island; a disrespect and disgust to the Xhosa Kingdom in general and the amaRharhabe in particular.
The remarkable, and often touching, friendship between Winston Churchill and Jan Smuts is a rich study in contrasts.
In youth they occupied very different worlds: Churchill, the rambunctious and thrusting young aristocrat; Smuts, the ascetic, philosophical Cape farm boy who would go on to Cambridge. Brought together first as enemies in the Anglo-Boer War, and later as allies in the First World War, the men forged a friendship which spanned the first half of the twentieth century and endured until Smuts’s death in 1950. Richard Steyn, author of Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness, examines this close friendship through two world wars and the intervening years, drawing on a maze of archival and secondary sources including letters, telegrams and the voluminous books written about both men.
This is a fascinating account of two remarkable men in war and peace: one the leader of the Empire, the other the leader of a small fractious member of that Empire who nevertheless rose to global prominence.
In Critique Of Black Reason, eminent critic Achille Mbembe offers a capacious genealogy of the category of Blackness - from the Atlantic slave trade to the present - to critically reevaluate history, racism, and the future of humanity. Mbembe teases out the intellectual consequences of the reality that Europe is no longer the world's center of gravity while mapping the relations between colonialism, slavery, and contemporary financial and extractive capital.
Tracing the conjunction of Blackness with the biological fiction of race, he theorizes Black reason as the collection of discourses and practices that equated Blackness with the nonhuman in order to uphold forms of oppression. Mbembe powerfully argues that this equation of Blackness with the nonhuman will serve as the template for all new forms of exclusion.
With Critique Of Black Reason, Mbembe offers nothing less than a map of the world as it has been constituted through colonialism and racial thinking while providing the first glimpses of a more just future.
In South Africa, two unmistakable features describe post-Apartheid politics. The first is the formal framework of liberal democracy, including regular elections, multiple political parties and a range of progressive social rights. The second is the politics of the ‘extraordinary’, which includes a political discourse that relies on threats and the use of violence, the crude re-racialization of numerous conflicts, and protests over various popular grievances. In this highly original work, Thiven Reddy shows how conventional approaches to understanding democratization have failed to capture the complexities of South Africa’s post-Apartheid transition. Rather, as a product of imperial expansion, the South African state, capitalism and citizen identities have been uniquely shaped by a particular mode of domination, namely settler colonialism. South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy is an important work that sheds light on the nature of modernity, democracy and the complex politics of contemporary South Africa.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, Southern Africa was a jumble of British colonies, Boer republics and African chiefdoms, a troublesome region of little interest to the outside world. Into this frontier world came the Reitz family, Afrikaner gentry from the Cape, who settled in Bloemfontein and played a key role in the building of the Orange Free State.
Frank Reitz, successively chief justice and modernising president of the young republic, went on to serve as State Secretary of the Transvaal Republic. In 1899, he stood shoulder to shoulder with President Paul Kruger to resist Britain’s war of conquest in Southern Africa. At the heart of this tale is the extraordinary life of Deneys Reitz, third son of Frank Reitz and Bianca Thesen. The young Reitz’s account of his adventures in the field during the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), published as Commando, became a classic of irregular warfare. After a period of exile in Madagascar, he went on become one of South Africa’s most distinguished lawyers, statesmen and soldiers. Martin Meredith interweaves Reitz’s experiences, taken from his unpublished notebooks, with the wider story of Britain’s brutal suppression of Boer resistance.
Concise and readable, Afrikaner Odyssey is a wide-ranging portrait of an aristocratic Afrikaner family whose achievements run like fine thread through these turbulent times, and whose presence is still marked on the South African landscape.
Die eiesoortige vriendskap tussen Winston Churchill en Jan Smuts is ’n studie in kontraste. In hul jeug het hulle uiteenlopende wêrelde bewoon: Churchill was die weerbarstige en energieke jong aristokraat; Smuts die asketiese, filosofiese Kaapse plaasseun, wat later aan Cambridge sou gaan studeer. Daar sou hy die eerste student word wat albei dele van die finale regskursus in dieselfde jaar neem en al twee met onderskeiding slaag.
Nadat hulle in die Anglo-Boereoorlog eers as vyande, en later in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog as bondgenote byeengebring is, het die mans ’n vriendskap gesmee wat oor die eerste helfte van die twintigste eeu gestrek het en tot Smuts se dood in 1950 voortgeduur het. Richard Steyn, die skrywer van Jan Smuts: Afrikaner sonder grense, bestudeer dié hegte vriendskap deur twee wêreldoorloë aan die hand van ’n magdom argiefstukke, briewe, telegramme en die omvangryke boeke wat oor albei mans geskryf is.
Dit is ’n fassinerende verhaal oor twee besonderse individue in oorlog en vrede – die een die leier van ’n groot ryk, die ander die leier van ’n klein, weerspannige lid van daardie ryk.
Die Herero-opstand 1904–1907 is ’n heruitgawe van ’n boek wat ses keer tussen 1976 en 1979 deur HAUM gepubliseer is. Die lotgevalle van die Hererovolk word in hierdie boek geskets, ’n stuk geskiedenis wat ’n sentrale plek in Namibie se kleurryke geskiedenis beklee. Die opstand van die Herero’s in 1904 teen Duitse koloniale gesag kan beskou word as die enkele gebeurtenis wat die gebied se volksverhoudinge die ingrypendste verander het. Die Herero-opstand 1904–1907 vertel van die geleidelike opbou na die konflik, die skielike uitbarsting van geweld en die tragiese afloop vir die Herero’s toe duisende verhonger het en hulle grond en politieke seggenskap verloor het.
The Jameson Raid was a pivotal moment in the history of South Africa, linking events from the Anglo-Boer War to the declaration of the Union of South Africa in 1910. For over a century the failed revolution has been interpreted through the lens of British imperialism, with responsibility laid at the feet of Cecil John Rhodes. Yet the wild adventurism that characterised the raid resembles a cowboy expedition more than a serious attempt to overthrow a Boer government.
In The Cowboy Capitalist, Charles van Onselen challenges a historiography of over 120 years, locating the raid in American rather than British history and forcing us to rethink the histories of at least three nations. Through a close look at the little-remembered figure of John Hays Hammond, a confidant of both Rhodes and Jameson, he discovers the American Old West on the South African Highveld.
This radical reinterpretation challenges the commonly held belief that the Jameson Raid was quintessentially British and, in doing so, drives splinters into our understanding of events as far forward as South Africa’s critical 1948 general election, with which the foundations of Grand Apartheid were laid.
The Wretched of the Earth is a classic, political work which has gained prominence in SA during the recent student (and political) uprisings. It is an in- depth analysis of the effects of colonisation on the individual in society. It examines the consequences of a decolonising struggle and the needed path to liberation. Themes of class, race, violence and culture are discussed, and this book has had a major impact on civil and human rights, anti-colonialism, and black consciousness movements around the world, and is currently hotly-debated in SA.
As negentienjarige ryloper in Spanje beland Frank Westerman toevallig in die dorpie Banyoles, waar ’n opgestopte “Kalahari-Boesman”, slegs bekend as El Negro, uitgestal word. Sy indrukke bly hom by – en wanneer hy dekades later weer van El Negro lees, die keer in ’n Franse koerant, is dit die begin van ’n ondersoeksreis wat belangrike vrae oor rasopvattings en die Westerse beskawing na vore bring. Wie was hierdie naamlose man? Wat se sy opgestopte “museumteenwoordigheid” oor Europese denke oor slawerny, rassisme en kolonialisme – en bied hy slegs ’n spieel op ’n vergange tyd, of ook op die hede?
Without libraries, what have we? We have no past and no future. This book tells for the first time in English the story of the first great universal library in the age of printing - and of the son of Christopher Columbus who created it. This is the scarcely believable - and wholly true - story of Christopher Columbus' bastard son Hernando, who sought to equal and surpass his father's achievements by creating a universal library. His father sailed across the ocean to explore the known boundaries of the world for the glory of God, Spain and himself. His son Hernando sought instead to harness the vast powers of the new printing presses to assemble the world's knowledge in one place, his library in Seville. Hernando was one of the first and greatest visionaries of the print age, someone who saw how the scale of available information would entirely change the landscape of thought and society. His was an immensely eventual life. As a youth, he spent years travelling in the New World, and spent one living with his father in a shipwreck off Jamaica. He created a dictionary and a geographical encyclopaedia of Spain, helped to create the first modern maps of the world, spent time in almost every major European capital, and associated with many of the great people of his day, from Ferdinand and Isabel to Erasmus, Thomas More, and Durer. He wrote the first biography of his father, almost single-handedly creating the legend of Columbus that held sway for many hundreds of years, and was highly influential in crafting how Europe saw the world his father reached in 1492. He also amassed the largest collection of printed images and of printed music of the age, started what was perhaps Europe's first botanical garden, and created by far the greatest private library Europe had ever seen, dwarfing with its 15,000 books every other library of the day. Edward Wilson-Lee has written the first major modern biography of Hernando - and the first of any kind available in English. In a work of dazzling scholarship, The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books tells an enthralling tale of the age of print and exploration, a story with striking lessons for our own modern experiences of information revolution and Globalisation.
Originally published in June 2007, this book aims to keep intact the soul of Biko and his teachings in a book of quotes. This is done through the reproduction of key quotes on the fundamental subject matter put forward by The Black Consciousness ideology. Some of the quotes included are from Father Stubbs and Millard Arnold.
Edited by Millard Arnold, he brings to life the words of Biko’s revolutionary thought which encompassed a wide range of subject matter pertaining to the black human experience. Ranging from Black Expectations, through to Liberals, as well as the topic of integration. The book includes some of Biko’s quotes on different subjects:
‘The future will always be shaped by the sequence of present-day events.’
‘Being black is not a matter of pigmentation being black is a reflection of a mental attitude.’
‘The philosophy of Black Consciousness, therefore, expresses group pride and the determination by the blacks to rise and attain the envisaged self.’
'Thrilling, tremendously enjoyable' The New York Times 'A nail-biting escape story' Financial Times At the age of twenty-four, Winston Churchill already believed he was destined for greatness. This is the incredible story of how one incredible year in Churchill's life - an adventure involving war in South Africa, imprisonment, endurance and escape - would be the making of one of the most extraordinary men in history. 'Few can match the originality and narrative power of Candice Millard's elegantly written and surprisingly revealing account of the young Churchill's exploits' Saul David, Daily Telegraph 'A thrilling account ... This book is an awesome nail-biter and top-notch character study rolled into one' Jennifer Senior, The New York Times, Books of the Year Gripping ... thrilling ... Millard tells it with gusto ... casts an interestingly oblique light on Churchill's personality, and on a traumatic war' Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Observer, Books of the Year 'Completely engrossing' Andrew Roberts
Die agtste en laaste deel van die reeks Kolonie aan die Kaap beskryf die agteruitgang en verval van die VOC en die gevolge wat dit vir Kaap gehad het gedurende die laaste kwarteeu van die VOC-bewind. Swanesang dek die tydperk vanaf die dood van goewerneur Rijk Tulbagh tot en met die eerste Britse besetting van die Kaap in 1795. Sy opvolgers, J.A van Pletterberg, J.C. de Graaff, die waarnemende goewerneur Rhenius en die laaste goewerneur, J.A. Sluysken, en die onsekerheid wat die laaste deel van die VOC-tydperk gekenmerk het, word belig. Afgesien van die amptelike rolle wat verskeie VOC-amptenare gespeel het, word ook aandag aan hulle karaktereienskappe en persoonlike lewens gegee om sodoende lewe aan die geskiedkundige figure te gee. Schoeman slaag egter veral daarin om naas die amptenary ook ’n beeld te gee van die lewe van gewone mense in die breer Kaapse samelewing. Besonder boeiend is die bespreking van die reise van verskeie natuurkundiges, soos die Swede Thunberg en Sparrman, die Skotte Masson en Paterson, die Nederlander Robert Jacob Gordon en die Franse Sonnerat en Le Vaillant. Veral die flambojante Le Vaillant se boeke was baie populer en het bygedra om die Kaap en sy interessante fauna en flora wyd bekend te maak. In die laaste hoofstukke word aandag gegee aan die Franse Rewolusie en ander politieke veranderinge in Europa wat Nederland verswak en tot die Britse oorname van die Kaap gelei het.
Wanneer ’n mens aan die ervarings van Boerevroue en -kinders tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog dink, is die outomatiese konnotasie die van konsentrasiekamplyding. ’n Fassinerende en grotendeels onbekende buitebeentjie in hierdie genre is die dagboek van Anna Barry, waaruit ’n unieke en veelkantige beeld van die oorlog na vore kom. Aan die een kant van Anna se oorlogservaring staan haar broer Japie – ’n begeesterde jong soldaat wat uiteindelik as krygsgevangene op Ceylon sterf. Hierteenoor le haar geliefde pa Thomas (aanvanklik ’n gerespekteerde veldkornet) al in 1900 die eed van neutraliteit af, en wag hy die grootste gedeelte van die oorlog in die neutrale Basoetoland uit. Vir die tienderjarige Anna is die oorlog as gevolg hiervan ’n uiters verwarrende ervaring en haar dagboek bied ’n sonderlinge blik op die gefragmenteerdheid en buigbaarheid van konsepte soos “identiteit”, “nasie” en “volk”. Die feit dat die dagboek eers in 1960 vir die eerste keer gepubliseer is en daarna grotendeels in die vergetelheid verval het, is verder veelseggend in terme van hoe Anna self verwag het haar ervarings kort na die oorlog ontvang sou word – maar ook in terme van hoe blinde lojaliteit aan sekere groepe so dikwels in die geskiedenis van Suid-Afrikaners vereis is. Die dagboekteks, geboekstut deur Ena Jansen se insiggewende en verhelderende voor- en nawoord, bied nie slegs ’n sonderlinge blik op die Anglo-Boereoorlog nie, maar is verweef met kwessies van taal, politieke mag en sosiale status wat vandag nog net so relevant is soos toe die dagboek geskryf is.
Daar is reeds baie navorsing gedoen en ‘n groot aantal publikasies het verskyn oor die geskiedenis van die Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) se tyd aan die Kaap. Nogtans het baie kundiges ‘n behoefte aan ‘n gesaghebbende publikasie wat die VOC se bewindstyd aan die Kaap volledig sou behandel, geidentifiseer. 'n Motivering was 'n nuwe belangstelling in die Kompanjiesgeskiedenis en heelwat aspekte van die VOC se verbintenis met Suid-Afrika wat nog nie in die historiografie neerslag gevind het nie. Sewentien medewerkers, wat elkeen ‘n deskundige op sy of haar besondere terrein is, is gewerf. Aspekte wat bespreek word, is die ontdekking van die seeroetes na die Ooste en die Amerikas teen die einde van die 16de eeu en die interafhanklikheid wat daardeur tussen Europa, die Ooste en die Amerikas ontstaan het. Dit het ook in Nederland neerslag gevind met die ontstaan van die VOC in 1602 en die groei van sy Oosterse handelsryk in die 17de eeu, wat dit die eerste groot internasionale handelsmaatskappy gemaak het. Daarna word die maatskappy se geleidelike agteruitgang en sy uiteindelike ondergang aan die einde van die 18de eeu geskets. Daar word gefokus op die rol wat die Kaapse diensstasie in die VOC se Oosterse handel gespeel het, die Kaapse bestuursinstellings en owerheidsdienste word bespreek en aandag word gegee aan die verdediging van die Kaap – die strategiese waarde van die Kaap en die verdedigingstelsel om dit te beskerm, die verdediging teen ‘n buitelandse bedreiging en die bekamping van binnelandse bedreigings. Laastens word die regspraak, gesondheidsdienste en onderwys volledig behandel. Daar is ook 'n fokus op die verskillende bevolkings-, kulturele of beroepsgroepe aan die Kaap, te wete die Khoisan, die Kompanjiesamptenare, die vryburgers, die slawe en die gemengde of “bruin” bevolkingsgroep. Ten slotte is daar 'n samevattende oorsig op die geskiedkundige nalatenskap van die VOC se teenwoordigheid aan die Kaap op die ontstaan en ontwikkeling van Suid-Afrika soos ons dit vandag ken.
In analyzing the obstacles to democratization in post- independence Africa, Mahmood Mamdani offers a bold, insightful account of colonialism's legacy-a bifurcated power that mediated racial domination through tribally organized local authorities, reproducing racial identity in citizens and ethnic identity in subjects. Many writers have understood colonial rule as either "direct" (French) or "indirect" (British), with a third variant-apartheid-as exceptional. This benign terminology, Mamdani shows, masks the fact that these were actually variants of a despotism. While direct rule denied rights to subjects on racial grounds, indirect rule incorporated them into a "customary" mode of rule, with state-appointed Native Authorities defining custom. By tapping authoritarian possibilities in culture, and by giving culture an authoritarian bent, indirect rule (decentralized despotism) set the pace for Africa; the French followed suit by changing from direct to indirect administration, while apartheid emerged relatively later. Apartheid, Mamdani shows, was actually the generic form of the colonial state in Africa. Through case studies of rural (Uganda) and urban (South Africa) resistance movements, we learn how these institutional features fragment resistance and how states tend to play off reform in one sector against repression in the other. Reforming a power that institutionally enforces tension between town and country, and between ethnicities, is the key challenge for anyone interested in democratic reform in Africa.
Luka Jantjie is today a largely forgotten hero of resistance to British colonialism. His place in South African history has tended to be overshadowed by events elsewhere in the region. This book attempts to redress the balance by recording his remarkable story. In 1870, at the beginning of the Kimberley diamond mining boom that was to transform southern Africa, Luka Jantjie was the first independent African ruler to lose his land to the new colonialists, who promptly annexed the diamond fields. His outspoken stand against the hypocrisy of colonial 'justice' earned him the epithet 'a wild fellow who hates the English'. As the son of an early Christian convert, Luka was brought up to respect peace and nonviolence; his boycott of rural trading stores in the early 1890s was perhaps the earliest use of non-violent resistance in colonial South Africa. His steady refusal to bow to colonial demands of subservience intensified the enmity of local colonists determined to 'teach him a lesson'. As many of his people succumbed to colonial pressures, Luka was twice forced to take up arms to defend himself and his people from colonial attacks. His life ended in a dramatic and heroic last stand in the ancestral sanctuary of the Langeberg mountain range, the consequences of which stretched far into the next century. The book highlights the following aspects: Luka as South African hero: one man's struggle to retain his people's land and freedom in the second half of the nineteenth century. Luka as a 'modern man': cattle-farmer, hunter, trader, diamond prospector and a man generally at ease with the modern world and the fast-growing economy of South Africa. Recovers the history of a people, the southern Tswana of the Northern Cape, a history which was effectively destroyed from the 1890s onwards by forced removals and land confiscations, with 2000 prisoners sent as indentured labourers to the Western Cape. The story told in this book demonstrates vividly their role in the struggle against colonialism. The Langeberg rebellion of 1897, which lasted over seven months, killed many colonial troops, and ended with Luka's death and controversial beheading.
The Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller on India's experience of British colonialism, by the internationally-acclaimed author and diplomat Shashi Tharoor 'Tharoor's impassioned polemic slices straight to the heart of the darkness that drives all empires ... laying bare the grim, and high, cost of the British Empire for its former subjects. An essential read' Financial Times In the eighteenth century, India's share of the world economy was as large as Europe's. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. The Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation. British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial 'gift' - from the railways to the rule of law - was designed in Britain's interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain's Industrial Revolution was founded on India's deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry. In this bold and incisive reassessment of colonialism, Tharoor exposes to devastating effect the inglorious reality of Britain's stained Indian legacy.
The first comprehensive and authoritative history of the Koh-i-Noor, arguably the most celebrated and mythologised jewel in the world. On 29 March 1849, the ten-year-old maharaja of the Punjab was ushered into the magnificent Mirrored Hall at the centre of the great fort in Lahore. There, in a public ceremony, the frightened but dignified child handed over great swathes of the richest country in India in a formal Act of Submission to a private corporation, the East India Company. He was also compelled to hand over to the British monarch, Queen Victoria, perhaps the single most valuable object on the subcontinent: the celebrated Koh-i Noor diamond. The Mountain of Light. The history of the Koh-i-Noor that was then commissioned by the British may have been one woven together from gossip of Delhi bazaars, but it was to become the accepted version. Only now is it finally challenged, freeing the diamond from the fog of mythology that has clung to it for so long. The resulting history is one of greed, murder, torture, colonialism and appropriation told through an impressive slice of south and central Asian history. It ends with the jewel in its current controversial setting: in the crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Masterly, powerful and erudite, this is history at its most compelling and invigorating.
In this highly acclaimed work, Edward Said surveys the history and nature of Western attitudes towards the East, considering Orientalism as a powerful European ideological creation – a way for writers, philosophers and colonial administrators to deal with the ‘otherness’ of Eastern culture, customs and beliefs. He traces this view through the writings of Homer, Nerval and Flaubert, Disraeli and Kipling, whose imaginative depictions have greatly contributed to the West’s romantic and exotic picture of the Orient. In his new preface, Said examines the effect of continuing Western imperialism after recent events in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.
With a new preface by the author
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