Africa books

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This is a list of Africa-related books I own. It's nowhere near complete, but it's slowly getting there. These are not all academic books - some are, some aren't. Some are travel-related.

If you're working on Wikipedia articles, please let me know if you'd like me to help you with research and references.

Related to Africa

These books are not entirely based around African topics, but they contain useful material.

  • Communities and Their Development. T.R. Batten. 1957.
  • School and Community in the Tropics. T.R. Batten. 1959.


  • Africa. Council on Foreign Relations.
  • Africa: A Biography of the Continent. John Reader.
  • Africa in History. Basil Davidson.
  • Africa's Armies: From Honor to Infamy: A History From 1791 to the Present. Robert B Edgerton. 2002.
  • African Foreign Policies. Wright.
  • The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800. Christopher Ehret.
  • Dark Safari: The Life Behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley. John Bierman. 1990.
  • General History of Africa Abridged: Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century (Vol. IV). Ed. J Ki-Zerbo and DT Niane.
  • General History of Africa Unabridged: Africa Since 1935 (Vol. VIII). Ed. by Ali Mazrui.
  • The History of Africa. Kevin Shillington.
  • Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354. Trans. by H.A.R Gibb. 4th ed, 1957.
  • Into The House Of The Ancestors: Inside the New Africa. Karl Maier. 1997.
  • The Lost Cities of Africa. Basil Davidson.
  • Medieval Africa: 1250-1800. Roland Oliver and Anthony Atmore.
  • Muntu: An Outline of Neo-African Culture. Jan-Heinz Jahn. 1961.
  • Tarikh: African Achievement and Tragedy (Journal). Historical Society of Nigeria.
    • 1968: Vol.2 No.2
    • 1968: Vol.2 No.3

Business, Economics and Development

  • Africa Betrayed. George B.N. Ayittey. 1993.
  • Africa Unchained: The Blueprint For Africa's Future. George B.N. Ayittey. 2006.
  • Africa Uncorked: Travels in Extreme Wine Territory. John Platter. 2006.
  • The Economics of African Development. Pierre Moussa. 1972.
  • Hemmed In: Responses to Africa's Economic Decline. Thomas M Callaghy, John Ravenhill. 1994.
  • Less Walk, More Talk: How Celtel and the Mobile Phone Changed Africa. Russell Southwood. 2008.

Travel Guides

Old travel books can contain useful information on the political and economic conditions at the time. When borders are opened or closed to other countries, etc. Country- or region-specific books are listed under the specific countries and regions.

  • Bradt: Africa Overland. Sian Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons. 2000.
  • Bright Continent: A Shoestring Guide to Sub-Saharan Africa. Susan Blumenthal. 1974.
  • Lonely Planet: Africa On The Cheap. Geoff Crowder. 1st ed, 1977.
  • Lonely Planet: Africa On The Cheap. Geoff Crowder. 2nd ed.
  • Lonely Planet: Africa On A Shoestring. Geoff Crowder. 3rd ed. 1987.
  • Lonely Planet: Africa On A Shoestring. 6th ed, 1992.
  • Lonely Planet: Africa On A Shoestring. 8th ed, 1998.
  • Lonely Planet: Africa On A Shoestring. 9th ed, 2001.
  • Lonely Planet: Africa On A Shoestring. 10th ed, 2004.
  • Lonely Planet: Africa. 11th ed, 2007.
  • Lonely Planet: Central Africa. 1st ed.
  • Lonely Planet: Central Africa. 2nd ed.
  • Sahara Handbook. Roger Glen and Jan Glen. 1980.
  • The Sahara is Yours. Jon Stevens. 1969.
  • Sahara Overland. Chris Scott. 2nd ed, 2005.

Travel Narrative

  • Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town. Paul Theroux. 2003.


East Africa

  • Field Guide to the National Parks of East Africa. J.G. Williams. 1982.

Northeast Africa

  • The Blue Nile. Alan Moorehead. 2000.

West Africa


  • Designing West Africa: Prelude to 21st Century Calamity. Peter Schwab. 2004.
  • In The Niger Country. Harold Bindloss. 1898/1968.
  • Local Government in West Africa. L. Gray Cowan. 1958.
  • A Sketch-map History of West Africa. Norah Latham. 1959.
  • Warfare and Diplomacy in Pre-Colonial West Africa. Robert S. Smith. 2nd ed, 1989.
  • West Africa: An Introduction to its History. Michael Crowder.

Travel Guides

  • Lonely Planet: West Africa. 3rd ed, 1995.
  • Lonely Planet: West Africa. 6th ed, 2006.
  • Lonely Planet: West Africa. 7th ed, 2009.
  • Rough Guide: West Africa. 4th ed, 2003.
  • Rough Guide: West Africa. 5th ed, 2008.

Travel Narrative

  • Angry Wind: Through Muslim Black Africa by Truck, Bus, Boat, and Camel. Jeffrey Tayler. 2005.
  • Four Guineas: A Journey Through West Africa. Elspeth Huxley. 1955.
  • Travels in West Africa. Mary Kingsley. 1897/2002.




  • Under African Sun. Marianne Alverson. 1987.


  • Mango Elephants In The Sun. Susana Herrera.

Central African Republic

  • Dark Age: The Political Odyssey of Emperor Bokassa. Brian Titley.

DR Congo

  • The Assassination of Lumumba. Ludo De Wirte. 2001.
  • In The Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living On The Brink of Disaster In Mobutu's Congo. Michela Wrong. 2002.
  • King Leopold's Ghost. Adam Hochschild. 1999.

Equatorial Guinea

  • Small Is Not Always Beautiful. Max Liniger-Goumaz
  • Tropical Gangsters. Robert Klitgaard.
  • The Wonga Coup. Adam Roberts


  • Asmara: Africa's Secret Modernist City. Edward Denison, Guang Yu Ren, Naigzy Gebremedhin.
  • Asmara: Frozen City. Jochen Visscher and Stefan Boness. 2007.
  • I Didn't Do It For You: How The World Betrayed A Small African Nation. Michela Wrong. 2006.


  • The Rentier State in Africa: Oil Rent Dependency and Neo-Colonialism in the Republic of Gabon. Douglas A. Yates. 1996.

The Gambia

  • Coup d'etat by the Gambia National Army. Lt. Col. Samsudeen Sarr. 2007.


  • The Sacred Stools of The Akan. Peter Sarpong. 1971.


  • It's Our Turn To Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower. Michela Wrong.
  • Not Yet Uhuru. Oginga Odinga.
  • Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan Politics. Babafemi A. Badejo. 2006.


  • Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa's Fragile Edge. William Powers. 2005.
  • Liberia: Portrait of a Failed State. John-Peter Pham. 2004.


Travel Guides

  • Bradt: Mali. Ross Velton. 2004.

Travel Narrative

  • Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara On The Caravan of White Gold. Michael Benanav. 2006.


  • A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique. William Finnegan. 1992.
  • Mozambique: The Revolution Under Fire. Joseph Hanlon. 1984.



  • Adamawa Past and Present. A.H.M. Kirk-Greene. 1958.
  • Barth's Travels in Nigeria. A.H.M. Kirk-Greene. 1962.
  • Benin: The Surrounding Country, Inhabitants, Customs, and Trade. James Pinnock. 1897/1968.
  • Beyond Freedom: Letters to Olusegun Obasanjo. 1996.
  • Cinema In Rural Nigeria: A Field Study of the Impact of Fundamental-Education Films on Rural Audiences in Nigeria. P. Morton-Williams. Study from 1952.
  • Ethnographic Survey of Africa: Western Africa
    • Part VII: Peoples of the Plateau Area of Northern Nigeria. Harold D. Gunn. 1953.
    • Part X: Peoples of the Niger-Benue Confluence (Nupe, Igbira, Igala, Idoma-Speaking Peoples). Daryll Forde, Paula Brown, Robert G. Armstrong. 1955.
    • Part XII: Pagan Peoples of the Central Area of Northern Nigeria (The Butawa, Warjawa, etc. of the Bauchi-Kano borderland. The Kurama etc., the Katab Group, the Kadara, etc., of Zaria Province). Harold D. Gunn. 1956.
    • Peoples of the Middle Niger Region, Northern Nigeria. Harold D. Gunn and F.P. Conant. 1960.
  • From Khaki to Agbada: Handbook for the February 1999 Elections in Nigeria. Afewale Maja-=Pearce.
  • Government in Zazzau: A Study of Government In The Hausa Chiefdom of Zaria in Northern Nigeria from 1800 to 1950. Michael G. Smith. 1960.
  • A Guide To Jos. Ed. by K. J. Bryant.
  • Handbook of Commerce and Industry in Nigeria. Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry. 1960.
  • The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil War 1967-1970. John J. Stremlau. 1977.
  • My Life. Sir Ahmadu Bello.
  • Nigeria Year Book 1962. Daily Press. 1962.
  • Nigerian Cities. Ed. by Toyin Falola and Steven Salm.
  • Nigerian Perspectives: An Historical Anthology. Thomas Hodgkin. 1960.
  • Ota: Biography of the Foremost Awori Town. Ruhollah Ajibola Salako.
  • Railway Magazine (articles on rail in Nigeria)
    • July 1964: Narrow Gauge In Nigeria: Railways of less than the main-line 3ft. 6in. gauge, and their locomotives. G.S. Moore. p578.
    • February 1966: Nigerian Island Tramway: The erstwhile Lagos Steam Tramway and its unique locomotives. Nevil Miller. p103.
  • Savannah Nomads: A Study of the Wodaabe Pastoral Fulani of Western Bornu Province, Northern Region, Nigeria. Derrick J. Stenning. 1959.
  • Shehu Musa Yar'Adua: A Life Of Service. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Foundation and JW Farris.
  • This House Has Fallen: Midnight in Nigeria. Karl Maier.

Travel Guides

  • Enjoy Nigeria. Ian Nason. 1995.
  • Lagos Easy Access. Pam Nixon. 2002.
  • Bradt: Nigeria. Lizzie Williams. 1st ed, 2005.
  • Bradt: Nigeria. Lizzie Williams. 2nd ed, 2008.
  • Time Out: Nigeria. 1st ed, 2008/2009.


  • Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. Romeo Dallaire.
  • We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda. Philip Gourevich. 1999.


Travel Guides

  • Bradt Seychelles


  • Where Soldiers Fear to Tread: A Relief Worker's Tale of Survival. John S. Burnett. 2006.

South Africa

  • Across Boundaries: The Journey of a South African Woman Leader. Mamphela Ramphele. 1999.
  • Cape Cameos: The Story of Cape Town in a New Way. Barbara Campbell Tait. 1948.
  • South Africa: A Planned Tour of the Country To-Day. A.W. Wells. 1944.
  • The Struggle: A History of the African National Congress. Heidi Holland. 1989.
  • Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred. Mark Gevisser. 2007.


  • Emma's War. Deborah Scroggins. 2004.


  • Mango Elephants In The Sun. George Packer.


  • The Wizard of the Nile: The Hunt for Africa's Most Wanted. Matthew Green.


  • The Battle For Zimbabwe: The Final Countdown. Geoff Hill. 2005.
  • Dinner with Mugabe: The Untold Story of a Freedom Fighter who Became a Tyrant. Heidi Holland. 2007.
  • Going Home. Doris Lessing. 1968.
  • Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe. Martin Meredith. 2003.