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I've used this book for research and teaching over years. It's a classic: meticulously researched, fluently written and un-superseded after almost 40 years. As a first encounter with African history, it can be confusing, because Iliffe throws a plethora of personal and place names at the reader, but the maps help deal with that. The author's ability to synthesise disparate information and focus on the most important outcomes and processes is almost uncanny, and he has a sharp eye for telling details. Highly recommended.