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Look Inside Defeating Mau Mau, Creating Kenya

Defeating Mau Mau, Creating Kenya
Counterinsurgency, Civil War, and Decolonization

$29.99 (G)

Part of African Studies

  • Date Published: August 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521130905

$ 29.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • This book details the devastating Mau Mau civil war fought in Kenya during the 1950s and the legacies of that conflict for the post-colonial state. As many Kikuyu fought with the colonial government as loyalists joined the Mau Mau rebellion. Focusing on the role of those loyalists, the book examines the ways in which residents of the country’s Central Highlands sought to navigate a path through the bloodshed and uncertainty of civil war. It explores the instrumental use of violence, changes to allegiances, and the ways in which cleavages created by the war informed local politics for decades after the conflict’s conclusion. Moreover, the book moves toward a more nuanced understanding of the realities and effects of counterinsurgency warfare. Based on archival research in Kenya and the United Kingdom and insights from literature from across the social sciences, the book reconstructs the dilemmas facing members of society at war with itself and its colonial ruler.

    • Reassessment of the nature of the Mau Mau war as a civil war rather than a war of national liberation
    • An empirical study of the mechanisms of decolonization, counterinsurgency and civil war
    • Assesses the long-lasting effects of civil wars upon societies that experience such conflicts
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Probably more people think they know more about the Mau Mau war in the British colony of Kenya than about any other event in African history. Daniel Branch shows how wrong we all were. Mau Mau was not a war of heroic simplicity between noble nationalists and cruel colonialists. It was more complicated than that. Rebels and loyalists shared the same values, knew each other intimately, and were indeed often the same people in different contexts. And the loyalists not only won the war but were the more effective nationalists. Mau Mau was controversial enough before Branch came along. It is even more so now. This book is essential reading for any serious student of modern African history.” – John Lonsdale, Trinity College, University of Cambridge

    “Defeating Mau Mau, Creating Kenya makes a radical departure from all previous accounts of the Mau Mau insurrection. It makes comprehensible the part played by the Loyalists, those of the Kikuyu who enlisted the British and took the initiative in defeating the Mau Mau insurgents in what gradually became a civil war. It is clearly written and powerfully argued. It is destined to become a classic.” – Wm. Roger Louis, University of Texas at Austin

    "Because of its long overdue approach, the book contains a fuller and more fully contextualized analysis of the anticolonial war in Kenya that has been developed previously. No scholar has heretofore tried to understand the dynamics of the indigenous anti-Mau Mau informants and campaigners. No one has so ably explained the complex personal and intra-ethnic motivations behind those who chose to refuse oaths and risked their lives to oppose Mau Mau.... Highly recommended." – Choice

    "A brilliant, exciting, and elegantly written new is a masterful study." - Susanne D. Mueller, Harvard University, International Journal of African Historical Studies

    "The book's main strengths lie in the author's effort to relate an overarching historical episode to the ongoing national debate about nation-building in Kenya.... This book has carved itself a place in the annals of the history of Mau Mau and Kenya." - Martin Shanguhyia, The College of William and Mary, H-Africa

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521130905
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: understanding loyalism in Kenya's civil war
    1. Vomiting the oath: the origins of loyalism in the growth of Mau Mau
    2. Terror and counter-terror: March 1953–April 1954
    3. From Mau Mau to home guard: the defeat of the insurgency
    4. Loyalism, land and labour: the path to self-mastery
    5. Loyalism in the age of decolonisation
    6. Eating the fruits of Uhuru: loyalists, Mau Mau and the post-colonial state
    Conclusion: loyalism, decolonisation and civil war.

  • Author

    Daniel Branch, University of Warwick
    Daniel Branch is currently an Assistant Professor in African History at the University of Warwick. Previously, he taught at the University of Exeter and was a Fellow of the Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. His articles have appeared in a number of journals, including African Affairs, The Journal of African History, Africa Today, and the Review of African Political Economy. He is currently working on two forthcoming book projects and co-editing (with Nicholas Cheeseman) a volume on Kenyan politics since 1950.

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