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

Front Cover
Macmillan, Dec 27, 2005 - 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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
1
3 stars
1
2 stars
1
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PamelaBarrett - www.librarything.com

I had never heard of Peshtigo, Wisconsin before reading this book, and now I will never forget it or its people. A friend lent me this book as we struggled to come to grips with the 3rd huge fire in ... Read full review

IMPERIAL RECKONING: The Untold Story of the End of Empire in Kenya

User Review  - Kirkus

A careful investigation of Kenya's Mau Mau uprising and the manifold crimes by the British colonial government in attempting to suppress it.Half a century ago, tales of Mau Mau atrocities filled the ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2005)

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.

Bibliographic information