You are here

The Civilizations of Africa

A History to 1800
Christopher Ehret

BUY Paper · 488 pp. · 7.25 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813928807 · $35.00 · Aug 2016
BUY Ebook · 488 pp. · ISBN 9780813946030 · $35.00 · Nov 2020

Since its initial publication, The Civilizationsof Africa has established itself as the most authoritative text available on early African history. Addressing the glaring lack of works concentrating on earlier African eras, Christopher Ehret’s trailblazing book has been paired with histories of Africa since 1800 to build a full and well-rounded understanding of the roles of Africa’s peoples in human history. Examining inventions and civilizations from 22,000 BCE to 1800 CE, Ehret explores the wide range of social and cultural as well as technological and economic change in Africa, relating all these facets of African history to developments in the rest of the world.

This updated edition incorporates new research, as well as an extensive new selection of color images.


Challenging and innovative... thorough and masterful.... One hopes that Christopher Ehret has initiated a new trend in the writing of African history textbooks, one that challenges previously accepted chronologies and ideas and presents us with an interpretation that connects social, economic, political, and cultural history.

African Studies Review

Challenges historians to rethink how they teach the African past.... Ehret goes boldly where no writer of an African history textbook has ever gone before.... [The book] has convinced me teachers should stress the deep past, the past that produced the intellectual, cultural, and—yes—spiritual resources that are the bedrock hope of an Africa battered by the past few centuries.

International Journal of African Historical Studies

An authoritative and strikingly original overview of African history up to 1800, written at a level that will be accessible to entering college students.

Patrick Manning, Northeastern University, author of Migration in Modern World History, 1500–2000

With this text, Christopher Ehret provides a compelling account of early African history suitable for undergraduates and those without background in the field, updating the first edition (2002) with recent research.... Anyone who has taught a survey course about Africa knows that the sheer scale of the undertaking is a significant challenge, but Ehret’s narrative moves back and forth easily between big-picture developments and closeto-the-ground details.

The International Journal of African Historical Studies

Ehret offers us systematic and thoughtful coverage of Africa’s early history, dividing the period between 22,000 b.c.e. and 1450 into six long chapters, which draw mainly upon his own publications in the field of historical linguistics but also upon archaeology and occasionally other disciplines.


About the Author(s): 

Christopher Ehret is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of An African Classical Age: Eastern and Southern Africa in World History, 1000 B.C. to A.D. 400 (Virginia).

Interested in this topic?
Stay updated with our newsletters:

Related Books