The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa

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9780805042597: The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa
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For more than a thousand years, from A.D. 500 to 1700, the medieval kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay grew rich on the gold, salt, and slave trade that stretched across Africa. Scraping away hundreds of years of ignorance, prejudice, and mythology, award-winnnig authors Patricia and Fredrick McKissack reveal the glory of these forgotten empires while inviting us to share in the inspiring process of historical recovery that is taking place today.

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Patricia and Fredrick McKissack are the authors of The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa.

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Grade 5-7-The McKissacks describe the West African civilizations that flourished between the years 700 C.E. to 1700 C.E. A chronological account is given of each successive kingdom, and there is also substantial information about the social history of Mali and Songhay, e.g., education, the treatment of women, religion, and arts and crafts. The relationship between Islam and politics, and the interplay between traditional and Islamic customs in Mali and Songhay are highlighted. The authors have attempted something unique with their inclusion of indigenous and contemporaneous historical accounts (by such historians as Leo Africanus and Ibn Battuta), as well as in their substantial use of oral history. While this makes for an interesting perspective, it prevents the line between history and mythology from being clearly drawn. For example, in the story of Sundiata, visits from a powerful king in the magical form of an owl are not distinguished from the factual dates that Sundiata ruled Mali. This might limit the usefulness of the book to situations in which adults are able to help students think critically about the text. Adequate but uninspired photographs of ancient artifacts and modern people with traditional life styles illustrate the text. Unfortunately, the maps do not make clear the geographical relationships among the three kingdoms (they existed at different times, and in each case the territory of the earlier kingdom was wholly or partly subsumed under the later kingdom). The helpful notes discuss the validity of certain bibliographical sources. The informative time line links events in Africa to those in other parts of the world, and the bibliography is impressive. In spite of its limitations, this title will be an important addition to most collections.
Susan Giffard, Midtown Ethical Culture School, New York City
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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ISBN 10:  0805016708 ISBN 13:  9780805016703
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (J), 1993
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Book Description Henry Holt & Co, New York, 1995. Soft cover. Condition: New. No Flaws or Blemishes but minimal retail handling; Still Gift Quality. 8vo; 160 pages with a time line; bibliography and index; B/W illustrations. ------- For more than a thousand years, from A.D. 500 to 1700, the medieval kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay grew rich on the gold, salt, and slave trade that stretched across Africa. Scraping away hundreds of years of ignorance, prejudice, and mythology, award-winnnig authors Patricia and Fredrick McKissack reveal the glory of these forgotten empires while inviting us to share in the inspiring process of historical recovery that is taking place today. Seller Inventory # 009322

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