Over the last several decades, historians have conducted extensive research into contact between the United States and West Africa during the era of the transatlantic trade. Yet we still understand relatively little about more recent relations between the two areas. This multidisciplinary volume presents the most comprehensive analysis of the U.S.-West African relationship to date, filling a significant gap in the literature by examining the social, cultural, political, and economic bonds that have, in recent years, drawn these two world regions into increasingly closer contact.
Beginning with examinations of factors that linked the nations during European colonial rule of Africa, and spanning to discussions of U.S. foreign policy with regard to West Africa from the Cold War through the end of the twentieth century and beyond, these essays constitute the first volume devoted to interrogating the complex relationship -- both historic and contemporary -- between the United States and West Africa.
Contributors: Abdul Karim Bangura, Karen B. Bell, Peter A. Dumbuya, Kwame Essien, Andrew I. E. Ewoh, Toyin Falola, Osman Gbla, John Wess Grant, Stephen A. Harmon, Harold R. Harris, Olawale Ismail, Alusine Jalloh, Fred L. Johnson III, Stephen Kandeh, Ibrahim Kargbo, Bayo Lawal, Ayodeji Olukoju, Adebayo Oyebade, Christopher Ruane, Anita Spring, Ibrahim Sundiata, Hakeem Ibikunle Tijani, Ken Vincent, and Amanda Warnock.
The United States and West Africa: interactions and relations, ed. by Alusine Jalloh and Toyin Falola. Rochester, 2008. 477p index afp (Rochester studies in African history and the diaspora, 34) ISBN 1-58046-277-4; ISBN 9781580462778. Reviewed in 2009dec CHOICE.
In this important edited collection drawn from papers presented at an international conference on the US and West Africa, Jalloh (Univ. of Texas at Arlington) and Falola (Univ. of Texas at Austin) have pulled together more than a score of essays addressing various aspects of the largely overlooked topic of US relations with West Africa. After a useful introduction laying out the book's structure, the editors divide the papers into five sections exploring various (overlapping) themes. These include trade and politics from the 19th century; two sections on "cultural connections" that fit largely under the umbrella of transnationalism, one involving Americans in Africa and the other Africans in the US; US political and economic issues in West Africa, which emphasizes foreign policy and diplomacy; and a section "looking forward" to the 21st century. As with any good collection, this one makes a strong contribution on its own merits, but also should serve to push forward the literature by inspiring future research.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- D. C. Catsam, University of Texas of the Permian Basin
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