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   Imperial Reckoning
The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya
by Caroline Elkins
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Categories: Africana - History - The World | History - International - Africa
Code: 2032 |  ISBN: 0805076530 |  496 pp. |  Publication Date: 2005
Publisher: Henry Holt
Format: Hardcover
About this book
For decades Western imperialists have waged wars and destroyed local populations in the name of civilization and democracy. From 1952 to 1960, after a violent uprising by native Kenyans, the British detained and brutalized hundreds of thousands of Kikuyu?the colony's largest ethnic group?who had demanded their independence. In the eyes of the British colonizers, the men and women who fought in the insurgency?Mau Mau as it was then called?weren't freedom fighters but rather savages of the lowest order. The British felt justified, in the name of civilization, in crushing those who challenged colonial rule, even if it meant violating their basic human rights. Later, to cover up this stain on its past, the British government ordered all documentation relating to detention and torture during its last days of rule in Kenya destroyed.

In a groundbreaking debut, Harvard historian Caroline Elkins has recovered the lost history of the last days of British colonialism in Kenya. In a compelling narrative that draws upon nearly a decade of painstaking research?including hundreds of interviews with Kikuyu detention camp survivors and their captors?Elkins reveals for the first time what Britain so desperately tried to hide. In the aftermath of World War II and the triumph of liberal democracy over fascism, the British detained nearly the entire Kikuyu population?some one and a half million people?for more than eight years. Inside detention camps and barbed-wire villages, the Kikuyu lived in a world of fear, hunger, and death. Their only hope for survival was a full denunciation of their anti-British beliefs.

Imperial Reckoning is history of the highest order: meticulously researched, brilliantly written, and powerfully dramatic. An unforgettable act of historical re-creation, it is also a disturbing reminder of the brutal imperial precedents that continue to inform Western nations in their drive to democratize the world.


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