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Download A History of Mozambique epub

by Malyn Newitt

This book summarizes five hundred years of the history of the societies that exist within the area that became Mozambique in 1891. It also takes the story up to the present, including the War of Liberation and Mozambique after independence. It is work of major scholarship that will appeal to experts and students alike.

Download A History of Mozambique epub
ISBN: 0253340063
ISBN13: 978-0253340061
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: Malyn Newitt
Language: English
Publisher: Wits University Press (March 22, 1995)
Pages: 704 pages
ePUB size: 1320 kb
FB2 size: 1333 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 121
Other Formats: lrf azw lit doc

The book is wonderful and so expansive in scope. Shipping and packaging was excellent!!
This is one of the very few single-volume general histories of Mozambique in English and it avoids the usual faults of such general histories, which are often superficial and not based on the writer's own research experience. Malyn Newitt has clearly made a detailed study of archive materials and other sources and he has been personally involved in studying the history of Mozambique for many years. His book is a work of scholarship and as a result, it is almost 600 pages long, with another 60 pages of bibliography and references. It covers the whole period from the arrival of the Portuguese at the start of the 16th century up to the ending of the civil war between Frelimo and Renamo in 20 chapters that are crammed, almost too full, with narrative detail and a good amount of analysis and comment. The chapters are mainly chronological, but some describe different areas at the same time and others are on specific topics, like Afro-Portuguese society, the Prazos and Migrant labour.

The first 16 chapters covering the period from the 16th century to 1930, mainly concentrating on political and economic history (with relatively little on social or cultural history), and also Chapter 18 on Migrant labour are excellent. The remaining three chapters on the "New State" of Salazar, on the liberation war and on its aftermath are not to quite the same high standard and seem to rely more on secondary sources.

There are few criticisms of the whole work. Firstly, there are only a few pages describing the situation on the coast around the time of the Portuguese arrival and nothing about the early history of the coast or interior. A chapter on this would have been useful, balanced by small cuts to later chapters. Secondly, even though most of the written sources before the 20th century are European, there is little attempt to examine events from an African perspective to redress the balance. Thirdly, Newitt's treatment of Salazar's "New State" as it affected Mozambique is surprisingly favourable in view of the extent of forced labour, repression and consequent famine that it caused. Although he recognises these, Newitt treats these as aberrations, not as inherent in the system. Finally, (although it is no reflection on Newitt) the book ends in 1992, so it cannot take in the developments of the last 20 years.

The only other one volume history of Mozambique in English I have seen is Thomas Henriksen's "Mozambique: A History". This is around half the length of Newitt's book: most of it gives a very superficial view of Mozambique from pre-history to the mid 20th century, but its last four, very good, chapters give a useful summary on the last phase of colonial rule and the independence war. Only in these chapters can it compete with Newitt, whose book is therefore the only real starting point for the study of Mozambique's history in English.
This book is packed full of great detail and insights into pre-colonial, colonial, and briefly post-colonialism. It is one of the best single volume history references on Mozambique. Remember it was published in 1995 so I disagree with the earlier review about Newit blaming all the country's evils on the Portuguese and colonialism and forgetting errors of the Frelimo regime in the aftermath of independence in 1975. There is always a challenge in writing "modern history" so this criticism about the lack of attention to more recent events is inevitable. The real strength of this book is in how it transcends centuries of Mozambican history to identify and highlight key trends and themes and how they impact the past, present, and future. Understanding this aspect of history provides an excellent basis for understanding more recent events and current challenges.
The worst vice in african history-making is that of forgetfulness. Newitt's history of Mozambique clearly is an illustration of this: the author's view of Mozambique's history is one in which the portuguese play the villain and african's play the innocent "bon sauvage". Things are not so clear-cut however as our recent history has shown: mozambican history didn't begin with alien occupation and alien forces certainly aren't responsible for all evil we suffered in the past and still suffer in present times. For sake of intellectual honesty the least an historian of Mozambique should do is probe into the crimes, absurdities and mistakes of our socialist-era leaders. Not to do justice to colonialism, but to do justice to the thousands of mozambicans who died at their hands. That however is a chapter which does not figure in this book.