Friday, December 23, 2011

Africans Thought of It

Africans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations Bathseba Opini and Richard B. Lee

They should really call this book "Cool Things they did in Ancient Africa." Topics covered include medicine, hunting, architecture, food, and music.

I very much appreciate that the authors don’t treat Africa as a monolithic place or culture. For instance, the section on metal working talks about different types of metals worked by different peoples—different metals, different objects, different uses. The communication section includes Egyptian hieroglyphics, Beninese gongs and Sudanese woodblocks. It also compares a traditional Maasai animal horn with a modern vuvuzela.

The design is bright and bold, with lots and lots of pictures. Because so many cultures are discussed within each topic, most of it’s presented in a series of pull-out boxes. (If it’s mostly boxes, are they still pull-out boxes?) Because of the way the information is presented, the book is very browseable and readers can dip in and out of it, although it’s interesting enough that once they dip in, they probably won’t dip out until they’ve read the whole thing.

Book Provided by... my local library

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