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recommended reading about Africa
"There are as many Africas as there are books about Africa --
and as many books about it as you could read in a leisurely lifetime."
--Beryl Markham, West with the Night
This page contains a list of recommended fiction and non-fiction about Africa. The Congo Cookbook contains many excerpts pertaining to African cooking and food from a variety of published sources; The Excerpts page lists featured excerpts by author, along with a brief description of the excerpt and a link to the page containing it. The African Cookbook Review contains recommended African cookbooks.
One of Nigeria's best known novelists.
Arrow of God, Things Fall Apart, and No Longer at Ease tell of African traditions clashing with European colonialism.
A Man of the People is a story of politics and corruption.
Changes: A Love Story is a novel about the African woman's place in society.
Zarafa: A Giraffe's True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris the true story of the first giraffe in France.
Novelist from Ghana.
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born is not for the faint of heart.
The greatest traveler and travel writer of the medieval age.
Ibn Battuta in Black Africa (Said Hamdun and Noël King, translators and commentators)
African musician and writer.
An introduction to African Music: A People's Art
British novelist who lived in Africa.
The British and Germans fought World War I in Eastern Africa? An Ice-Cream War
A Good Man in Africa is a diplomatic comedy.
Brazzaville Beach is a love story set against primate reseach and civil war in Africa.
One of the greatest 19th century explorers, writers, and translators.
Wanderings in West Africa describes a trip along the Atlantic coast of Africa.
The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration covers Zanzibar and Tanzania
He also authored First Footsteps in East Africa Or, an Exploration of Harar,
and translated The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights.
British novelist and travel writer.
The Viceroy of Ouidah is Francisco Manoel de Silva, a Brazilian who makes his fortune in the Dahomey slave trade. A fascinating blend of African fact and fiction.
An epic history of a village in the middle of Africa, circa 1800. Segu
Worked briefly on a steamship in the Congo Free State.
Conrad's masterpiece, Heart of Darkness, is often read in English literature classes. It should be read in history classes as well.
One of the 20th century's best historians.
Africa in History: Themes and Outlines, and The Black Man's Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State are two of the many books he authored.
Her novels deal with women's lives, loves, and place in society.
In The Joys of Motherhood Emecheta writes of what a Nigerian woman does for her children, and what they do for her.
Second-Class Citizen is an autobiographical novel.
Olaudah Equiano, was born in 1745 in what is now Nigeria. He was captured by slave traders and taken to America and the Caribbean. He eventually bought his freedom and became an author and early anti-slavery activist.
The Interesting Narrative of The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African (various editions)
Time correspondent in Africa, wrote history and historical novels.
The Portuguese encounter the Kongo.
Lord of the Kongo: A Novel
Also recommended: The River Congo : The Discovery, Exploration and Exploitation of the World's Most Dramatic River
I Dreamed of Africa is a story of life and loss in Kenya. The book has its problems, but it is popular nonetheless.
Towards an African Narrative Theology: traditional African proverbs in a Christian context.
The Making of the African Queen: Or How I Went to Africa With Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind is her memoir of making the classic movie.
How the King of the Belgians created and controlled the Congo Free State. King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
The classic story of a British girl's childhood in Kenya. The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood
First president of Kenya.
Facing Mount Kenya documents the culture and traditions of the Kikuyu people.
Traveled through Africa in the 1890's between what is today Nigeria and Gabon.
Travels in West Africa is one of the books she wrote about her journeys.
The Poisonwood Bible is a novel told from the perspective of the wife and daughters of a missionary who takes his family to the Belgian Congo on the eve of independence.
Los Angeles Times correspondent covered Africa in the 1980's.
Journalism, rough draft of history, dispatches from Africa.
Rules of the Wild A story of expats in Kenya in the 1990's. Definitely not Out of Africa
West with the Night Kenya in the era of Isak Dinesen, Bror Blixen, Denys Finch Hatton, written by Africa's first female pilot.
Descriptive essays on East Africa: The Tree Where Man Was Born
South Africa as told by Michener, epic!, huge!, well-researched!: The Covenant
North of South: An African Journey documents a trip through Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia in the late 1970's.
A Bend in the River never mentions Kisangani (Zaire/Congo) by name, but it is a novel set there in the early days of Mobutu.
Kenyan novelist. Widely studied in schools in East Africa.
River Between, Matigari, and Devil on the Cross are his better known novels
Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams: Towards a Critical Theory of the Arts and the State in Africa is literary criticism
British naturalist and travel writer.
Searching for mokele-mbembe, O'Hanlon describes Congo flora, fauna, and human condition. No Mercy: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo
Winner of the 1991 Booker Prize for fiction.
The Famished Road is a spirit-child story.
Retraced the footsteps of 19th century explorers in East Africa.
Journey to the Source of the Nile
Author and film director from Senegal.
God's Bits of Wood is about a railway worker's strike in colonial French West Africa.
U.S. president took a year-long safari in Eastern Africa; his book was the first by an American to popularize the idea of recreational travel in Africa. African Game Trails: An Account of the African Wanderings of an American Hunter-Naturalist
The Primeval Forest, one of many books he authored, tells of his early years in Africa.
Charming book about the world's tallest animal.
Tall Blondes: A Book About Giraffes
Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.
Aké: The Years of Childhood is an autobiography of growing up in Nigeria in the 1930's and 40's.
19th century explorer who finally discovered the source of the Nile.
Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile tells that story.
Returned Peace Corps volunteer, novelist and travel writer.
On the Edge of the Great Rift: Three Novels of Africa (Fong and the Indians; Girls at Play; Jungle Lovers) Stories of expatriates in Africa.
Stories that are a fantastic mix of folktale and fairytale.
Simbi and the Satyr of the Dark Jungle
The Palm-Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
lived and traveled in most of Africa (and the world) and wrote a variety of fiction and non-fiction, much of it concerning Africa.
Recipes: African Cooking (Foods of the World) and First Catch Your Eland: A taste of Africa are classics of African gastronomy.
He is also the author of the novels A Story Like the Wind and A Far-Off Place; and non-fiction The Heart of the Hunter, and The Lost World of the Kalahari
Kinship: A Family's Journey in Africa and America explores cultural differences and similarities between Africans and African-Americans.
Wrote several novels set in Africa, as well as non-fiction books about Africa.
Scoop, the comic misadventures of a reporter in 1930's Africa.
East Along the Equator: A Journey Up the Congo and into Zaire recounts her trip across Mobutu's Zaire, including a voyage on a river barge that's a floating village.
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