A travellers tale giving an idea of the condition of Christianity in the Near and Middle East at the end of the 6th century and the end of the 20th ceA travellers tale giving an idea of the condition of Christianity in the Near and Middle East at the end of the 6th century and the end of the 20th century. ...more
This book needs to be corrected as the author's name is wrong.
It should read: Paul, John
John Paul was an Anglican missionary in Mocambique for 13 yearThis book needs to be corrected as the author's name is wrong.
It should read: Paul, John
John Paul was an Anglican missionary in Mocambique for 13 years from 1957 and observed at first hand the alienation of the black population by the unsympathetic and ruthless Portuguese colonial rulers. He shows the rise of the Frelimo movement of resistance to Portuguese rule.
A biography of Captain Allen Gardiner, RN, who retired from the navy to become an Anglican missionary, first in Zululand, where he was unsuccessful, aA biography of Captain Allen Gardiner, RN, who retired from the navy to become an Anglican missionary, first in Zululand, where he was unsuccessful, and then in Durban, where he settled on the ridge he named Berea. He later went to Argentina, and eventually died of starvation on Tierra del Fuego.
The books is a fairly straightforward biography, but told as a tale of missionary inspiration rather than historically or missiologically. ...more
Back in the 1970s there was a school of Marxist historians who attacked the "liberal" school that had flourished 30-40 years earlier.
According to theBack in the 1970s there was a school of Marxist historians who attacked the "liberal" school that had flourished 30-40 years earlier.
According to the "liberal" school, the biggest problem in South African society was "race", and in particular "native policy", which they saw as retarding the development of the country.
The Marxist historians believed (with some justification) that the liberal historians had missed the role of capitalism in promoting poverty, oppression and misery. Capitalism was largely invisible to the "liberal" historians, because they assumed that it was part of a normal society, and if they thought about it at all, they thought of it being largely beneficial. Any glitches were simply teething troubles in the development of an industrialising society, and so in an industrial society those problems would be things of the past, just as when a baby learns to chew solid food and enjoy new tastes, it forgets the discomfort of the eruption of milk teeth.
The Marxist historians, or some of them at least, tended to deny that there was such a thing as racism. Racism, to them, was simply a cover up for class warfare, a rationalisation and an excuse for exploitation of the working class. All economic activity, and even government policies were described in terms of "extracting surpluses".
So there were two competing views of South African history -- one with the view that the central issue was "race" and the other with the view that the central issue was class.
Now this is a gross over-simplification, and I've been exaggerating the extremes and playing down the middle to try to make the two tendencies clearer, but these tendencies were nevertheless there.
There were other schools of history too -- for example, the Afrikaner nationalist school, which tended to dominate school text books in the mid-20th century, and protrayed the main theme of history as the rise and development of the Afrikaner nation, with its own language, culture and territory (which God had given them by displacing the savages who had previously occupied it). Central to this story was the Great Trek.
Marxist historians, on the other hand, tended to see the Great Trek as just one of several similar population migrations (like that of the Ndebele to Matabeleland in the present Zimbabwe) which put the ruling classes in the various groups in a better position to extract surpluses from their own groups or their neighbours.
More recently there has been, in the true Marxist dialectical pattern, a synthesis. If "liberal" historiography was the thesis, and Marxist historiography the antithesis, then the synthesis combines the two into a new synthesis. And that seems to be the role of New history of South Africa
I'm not sure at what point one can say one has "read" a reference book such as this. But I think I've read enough to comment on it. It is quite a subsI'm not sure at what point one can say one has "read" a reference book such as this. But I think I've read enough to comment on it. It is quite a substantial book and comes at quite a substantial price (£25.00), which I didn't have to pay as I borrowed it from the library.
The first part of the book is devoted to twenty articles on various aspects of family and local history. They are by various contributors, and deal with topics such as beginning family history, surnames, researching Afri-Caribbean ancestry, family and society, landscape, industrial and labour history, domestic architecture, historc churches and more.
The second part is arranged alphabetically, like an encyclopedic dictionary, and consists of shorter articles, most of them less than a column in length, on a wide range of topics. A random sampling of entries includes parlour, potatoes, pottery and postcards, lectern, leasehold and leather, contraception, copper and copyhold tenure.
The longer thematic articles are a mixed bag, and generally I found them disappointing. Some were interesting and informative, while others were merely annotated bibliographies that conveyed little actual information. An example from the article on Domestic Architecture is typical (p. 143):
From the very beginning it was recognised that a regional approach was necessary to chronicle the separate development of the smaller house in different parts of the kingdom, where local craft traditions responded to climate, topography, available building materials, farming practices and economic prosperity, to create local solutions to the housing needs of the population. The two pioneering studies both came from Yorkshire. In 1898 S.O. Addy, a Sheffield solicitor and prolific antiquary on subjects ranging from dialect to cutlery, published The Evolution of the English House, and in 1916 C.E. Innocent, an architect and another native of Sheffield, published The Development of English Building Construction. Both books drew on local examples and remain invaluable because they record rural houses at a period before the radical alteration demanded by changing perceptions of public hygiene had obliterated much of the evidence of the original forms.
He tells us nothing about the original forms, or the changes - simply that you can find out about them in two out-of-print books that are probably inaccessible to many readers. Nor does he tell us about how local craft traditions responded to climate, topography, available building materials etc., he simply mentions that they did so. If you are a family historian, and want to know what kind of houses your ancestors lived in, this kind of article is worse than useless. It tells you nothing, except that you have paid a lot of money for a book that does not give the kind of information you expect to find in it.
Several of the thematic articles take this form, being simply annotated bibliographies, with no real information at all. If the book were advertised as a companion to historiography, rather than to history, that might be acceptable, but as it is it verges on fraudulent advertising. This kind of writing might be all right as a literature survey at the beginning of an academic thesis, or as an article in a scholarly journal. But at least the literature survey is followed by the meat of the thesis; here there is no meat at all. I might have given it four or five stars, were it not for this shortcoming.
The alphabetical section is generally better.
It contains quite a lot of useful information, and I've enjoyed reading it in bed before going to sleep. One can read a couple of short articles and perhaps jump around looking for references to other things. But in view of the shortcomings of some of the longer articles, I'm not sure that the book is worth the price. One can probably find more information on the Web free of charge, like this article on domestic architecture, for example.
The book does make several references to web sites, though as that kind of information can quite quickly become outdated, I'm not sure how useful it will be in a few years time.
An examination of changing Herero social conditions and attitudes over a century. The value of the book is greatly reduced through the use of fictitioAn examination of changing Herero social conditions and attitudes over a century. The value of the book is greatly reduced through the use of fictitious names, so one can never be sure whether a particular incident or point of view is truth or fiction....more