Shumway, Rebecca. The Fante and the transatlantic slave trade. Rochester, 2011. 232p bibl index afp (Rochester studies in African history and the diaspora, 52); ISBN 9781580463911. Reviewed in 2012apr CHOICE.
Shumway (Univ. of Pittsburgh) revises understanding of the 18th-century Gold Coast by using Fante coastal development to challenge the traditional Asante-centric perspective. The author focuses her work upon two main areas, the development of the decentralized Fante political system and the evolution of a cohesive Fante culture that counteracted the independence that existed within the confederation. The work explores the development of the Borbor Fante within the context of the transition from the gold to the slave trade and examines the development of what Shumway calls the "Coastal Coalition" of the Borbor Fante as they gained political and economic power in response to the development of both the Atlantic slave trade and the Asante. Beyond the coalition's development, which depended upon coastal big men who saw cooperation as a way to maintain and increase their position, Shumway explores the development of Fante culture. This involved the evolution of the Fante shrine of Nananom Mpow and the development of the local asafo military organizations. In this latter section, in which the evidence is sparse, the author seems to push the importance and cohesiveness of these unifying elements.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- T. M. Reese, Univ. of North Dakota
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