by Sundiata A. Djata
This book is an attempt to trace the evolution of an African state over a long period... Djata....begins with an 18th-century state in the Niger Valley and then consistently centers his analysis on it... He uses this approach to engage the conception of ethnic group widely used in scholarly literature as a means of showing that a Bamana identity shaped by this state developed from it and retained its significance even after the state had lost its sovereignty.
Djata seeks to connect his reconstruction of the history of the Middle Niger to larger issues of identity and identity formation in Africanist historiography.... His discussion of the role of Bamana forces in the occupation of Segu, which downplays French claims about their conquest, is particularly well developed....carefully researched using extensive archival documents supplemented with both Djata's original oral research and oral research conducted by earlier scholars. Djata's book is clearly written and is ! a worthy addition to the literature on the history of the Western Sudan, on the jihad period of West African history, and the imposition of colonial rule, as well as on issues of identity formation in Africa
Paperback: 251 pages