Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya

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Macmillan, 2006 - History - 475 pages

A major work of history that for the first time reveals the violence and terror at the heart of Britain's civilizing mission in Kenya

As part of the Allied forces, thousands of Kenyans fought alongside the British in World War II. But just a few years after the defeat of Hitler, the British colonial government detained nearly the entire population of Kenya's largest ethnic minority, the Kikuyu-some one and a half million people.

The compelling story of the system of prisons and work camps where thousands met their deaths has remained largely untold-the victim of a determined effort by the British to destroy all official records of their attempts to stop the Mau Mau uprising, the Kikuyu people's ultimately successful bid for Kenyan independence.

Caroline Elkins, an assistant professor of history at Harvard University, spent a decade in London, Nairobi, and the Kenyan countryside interviewing hundreds of Kikuyu men and women who survived the British camps, as well as the British and African loyalists who detained them.

The result is an unforgettable account of the unraveling of the British colonial empire in Kenya-a pivotal moment in twentieth- century history with chilling parallels to America's own imperial project.

Imperial Reckoning is the winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

 

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Contents

BRITAINS ASSAULT ON MAU MAU
31
SCREENING
62
REHABILITATION
91
THE BIRTH OF BRITAINS GULAG
121
THE WORLD BEHIND THE WIRE
154
THE HARD CORE
192
DOMESTIC TERROR
233
OUTRAGE SUPPRESSION AND SILENCE
275
DETENTION EXPOSED
311
EPILOGUE
354
THE OPERATING PIPELINE CIRCA JANUARY 1956
369
BIBLIOGRAPHY
433
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
451
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Caroline Elkins is an assistant professor of history at Harvard University. Conversant in Swahili and some Kikuyu, she has spent nearly a decade traveling and working in rural Africa. She and her research were the subjects of a 2002 BBC documentary entitled Kenya: White Terror. Imperial Reckoning is her first book. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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