A resource for scholars of linguistics, archaeology, world history and African studies, this historical survey challenges the way in which we view eastern and southern Africa, and also Africa as a whole, in the early eras of world history. Combining findings from archaeology, the author demonstrates that, from 1000 BC through to the fourth century AD, eastern and southern African history was invigorated by technological change and reshaped by a clash of distinctive cultures. He shows that Africans of this period were direct and indirect participants in the major trends of contemporary world history, such as the Iron Age and the first great rise of long-distance commercial enterprise. North America: University Press of Virginia; Uganda: Fountain Publishers
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Ehret's book is a path-breaking achievement, in bringing very early periods in Africa, outside the ancient Middle East familiar to all world historians, into the story of human events in those formative eras. I know of nothing like it for any other part of the world. From his technical virtuosity in historical linguistics, he manages to develop stimulating, eminently sensible, even profound insights into what people were all about, back then. - Joseph C. Miller, T. Cary Johnson Jr, Professor of History, University of Virginia Between 1000BC and AD400, the prehistory of sub-equatorial Africa was transformed by the expansion, over most of the region, of farmers speaking Bantu languages. A new book by Christopher Ehret transforms our understanding of this event. Ehret gives us rich insights into big questions of world history while also showing how prehistory can be deciphered with a method termed linguistic archaeology. - Jared Diamond in NATURE This is a major work that provides many new and deeper insights into the lives of people in early eastern and southern Africa and will shape future scholarship in this area for many years to come. - R.R. Atkinson, University of South Carolina in CHOICE By the book's midpoint, the immensity of his synthesis becomes apparent, as well as Ehret's achievement as a historical conceptualizer. Repeatedly, formulaic ideas are challenged by him - about causality, linearity as a model of change, the cultural factors affecting innovation... a fabulous African history book... - Kennell Jackson in THE HISTORIAN
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