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Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire
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Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  17 reviews
In "a gripping narrative that is all but impossible to put down" (Joseph C. Miller), Histories of the Hanged exposes the long-hidden colonial crimes of the British in Kenya. This groundbreaking work tells how the brutal war between the colonial government and the insurrectionist Mau Mau between 1952 and 1960 dominated the final bloody decade of imperialism in East Africa. ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published February 7th 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 2005)
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Sep 23, 2008 Andrea rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of Africa
Shelves: africa, kenya
This is one of two books (the other is Imperial Reckoning) that explores the Mau Mau rebellion and the British response fully. The Mau Mau may not have been nationalist heroes, but the British response was brutal. Not pleasant reading, but a good corrective to any tendency to romanticize colonialism.
this book talks about how the leaders of the British empire in Kenya dealt with the Mau Mau and the people of Kenya. it shows how most of the leaders were biased and were doing more to please the British settlers than to actually deal and solve the problems of Kenyan citizens who were mistreated the most by Mau Mau and the British rulings.
While the description of the book says it's a gripping narrative, the reality is much different. That doesn't mean it's not a good book - it's an excellent work of history, but like many history books, it jumps around a little bit to capture all of the stories.

The Mau Mau Rebellion was a dark time in Kenya's history and the response of the British seems to have been nearly as brutal. Anderson's focus is on the British response, but there are wide swaths of coverage of Mau Mau atrocities. Given t
Kuldip S Attalia
Highly recommended - A Must for all Kenyans.

'It is a powerful message, and a timely reminder of the brutal crimes of Empire.'

'By calling for reconciliation in the early years of his presidency, Pr Mzee Jomo Kenyatta understandably sacrificed the past for the future.

But today young Kenyans know next to nothing about the Mau Mau uprising and how it led to independence.

For them, these books are an incomparable record of what happened in, and to, their country.

For others, parallels with American
Interesting topic but really poorly written. It is has a strong political bias. It is more a recounting of events and an effort to prove the British wrong at every step. I am not saying who was and who wasn't wrong, but there is no real story told in this book because the closest thing you have to a protagonist is the revolution.

Of perhaps more interest is that I read the book at the behest of a Kenyan whose family suffered greatly during the revolution. He said it was the only book that really
Christopher Saunders
An admirable account of Kenya's Mau Mau Rebellion, so often pilloried in the Western press and controversial still in Kenya. Anderson examines the rebellion's background, stemming from British redistribution of Kikuyu tribal lands, and focuses heavily on the methods used by the British administration to crush the rebellion. He doesn't shy away from depicting Mau Mau atrocities but the military/government response, including retaliatory murders raids, rigged trials and concentration camps, hardly ...more
A pivotal piece of research of a very unfortunate time period and of what had been an often misrepresented history. From an academic perspective I appreciate the thought and thorough history this book provides, but from a reader's perspective a lot seems repetitive--which is a reality of the actual history and the horrors that occurred. It was important given the revisionist history to be so thorough, but at the same time it may prevent less dedicated people from learning the basics of the histo ...more
Anne-Marie Hodge
A very comprehensive and even-handed history of how Kenya's Mau Mau movement developed, progressed, and ultimately ended (although you can't say it was necessarily "resolved). Good scholarship and insights into the factors motivating all sides of the issues at hand. This was such a horrific period and was really the absolute low point of British colonialism; it's a shame that it doesn't get more attention in history classes.
Jun 14, 2013 Tom marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Anderson just wrote this NYT op-ed re Brits recently admitting to torture in Kenya and agreeing to some reparations, however small. Led me to look up his book. "The horror, the horror." Imagine the tea cups shattering throughout House of Lords (not that we Yanks have any reason to be smug on this matter).
Mark Eickhoff
Fascinating, generally well-written history of the 1950's Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya. It is a pretty balanced account--in a-pox-on-all-your-houses sort of way. It provides proof, yet again, that war is hell and a dirty business, that men are capable of all sorts of cruelty and inhumanity to other men, civilization isn't as civilized as it likes to think, and that we live in a fallen and sinful world.
A tightly-written, hard-hitting work of well-researched history that tackles a particularly grim chapter in Britain's retreat from empire. Anderson's meticulous account of the Mau Mau conflict in late colonial Kenya is all the more damning for its careful marshalling of court records, public and private documents, and other firsthand accounts to build his story. First-rate historical research and writing.
Before I read this book, I could fit everything I knew about the Mau Mau uprising into two sentences--and as it turns out, all of it was wrong. This is a very well researched, extremely readable history of Mau Mau in Kenya, from the late 1940s until the early 1960s. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the history of East Africa.
Iain McNab
Excellent account of the Mau Mau uprising in 1950s Kenya, based largely on colonial court records. Much more restrained than Caroline Elkins on the same subject - and more powerful for it - whilst still not letting the British government or the settler community off the hook.
Raimo Wirkkala
This is probably as definitive an account of Britain's role in the Mau Mau 'emergency' as exists. Also the most unflinching. The author includes much valuable historical perspective and context. This is the story of British colonialism at its worst.
Tim Martin
Important if disturbing book ... so relevant to today's contempt for equality in internationalism.

In this context google FCO Secret Migrated Archive at Hanslope Park.
This was a very depressing book. Very good, but really quite sad to learn about.
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