Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present” as Want to Read:
Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  156 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Frederick Cooper's latest book on the history of decolonization and independence in Africa helps students understand the historical process from which Africa's current position in the world has emerged. Bridging the divide between colonial and post-colonial history, it shows what political independence did and did not signify and how men and women, peasants and workers, re ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published October 10th 2002 by Cambridge University Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Africa Since 1940, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Africa Since 1940

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mikko Kärkkäinen
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I am currently, right after having read this book, reading the book The State of Africa by Frederic Cooper. These two books are basically about the same subject and precisely about the same era and location (Africa since about the 1940's). However, they could not be much more different in their way of storytelling and amount of detail.

This book, Africa Since 1940, is a relatively short description of several decades of events that have shaped Africa. The shortness is not a weakness because the b
Craig Werner
May 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: africa
Decent enough overview of Africa from the years lead up to independence to the early 2000s. Cooper stresses a set of central themes: the failure of the colonial regimes to prepare Africa for independence (worse in some places than others; worst in the Belgian and Portuguese spheres); the promise and disappointment of "development," a process that was rickety at best during the 60s, but absolutely savaged by the oil price increases of the 70s; and the dangers of "gatekeeper" states in which a sma ...more
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
After demonstrating continuities between the colonies and their successor states, he zooms out and looks at how global trends played differently in various regions of the continent. A long chapter on development is probably a good introduction to that complicated mess. His sober analysis gets some teeth as he describes the "gatekeeper" state: states where the only path to wealth is to be a part of a government that signs contracts with multinational corporations to extract resources, with the go ...more
Aug 17, 2009 added it
Cooper's knowledge of modern Africa is enormous. And the way he frames the period of decolonization, both the strategies of the empires and of the opposition, pays heed to the complexities of the moment. Nkrumah famously said to seek the political kingdom first, but there is strong evidence here that putting aside Pan-Africanist ideals and basic socioeconomic demands for the sake of a political autonomy that still remains ambiguous might not have been the best way to advance African freedom.
Possibly one of the most important works on late- and post-colonial Africa, Cooper's work incorporates broader themes such as the rejection of a monolithic African nationalism, and the intense relationship between white settlers and Africans into the narrative of decolonization and liberation wars. Arguably the best introduction to the history of African in the second half of the twentieth century.
Daniel Jones
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: masters
Really interesting look as how African nations evolved from their colonial heritage to what they are today, and how the states are continuations of the colonial regimes set up in place. I enjoyed the description of the 'gatekeeper' state, how the majority of moneys and materials flows through the gate guarded by whoever is in power, allowing for corruption and abuse of power.
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Good introduction in African history. Short but clear. A springboard to further research.
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Good survey and guide to further reading.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Essential to the understanding of African History!
rated it it was ok
Jun 05, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism
  • African Perspectives on Colonialism
  • Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order
  • On the Postcolony
  • Toward the African Revolution
  • African History: A Very Short Introduction
  • Lonely Planet South Africa Lesotho & Swaziland
  • A History of South Africa
  • Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity
  • Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya
  • History of Africa
  • The World That Trade Created: Society, Culture, and the World Economy, 1400 to the Present
  • Nelson Mandela: A Biography
  • A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa
  • States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control
  • A History of Pan-African Revolt
  • Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa
  • Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance