Critique Of A Biography Of The Continent Africa By John Reader

1757 words - 7 pages

A Critique


     A Biography of the Continent Africa, written by John Reader is an extensive chronological and topical study of Africa. Support reveals the earliest corroboration of the existence of human antecedents was discovered in east Africa at locations scattered north and south of the equator.
The discovery shows fossilized bones, stone tools, and the most significant of all, a trail of footprints in the preserved mud pan surface. The trail shows they walked across the pan more than three million years ago toward what is now called the Serengeti plains.
“These human ancestors made their living from and among the animals with whom they shared the landscape. They were neither diminutive, large nor numerous- who existed nowhere else on earth for over four millions years. The modern human species, Homo sapiens, with large brain and a talent for innovation, evolved from ancestral stock towards the end of that period.” (p.1)
     Africa, also know as the “dark continent” encompasses the second biggest landmass but it has only twenty-two percent of the earth’s land surface. (The United States could fit within the Sahara desert alone).
About a 100,000 years ago family groups left the continent for the first time and progressively colonized the rest of the world hence “ the cradle of civilization” term for Africa. The Reader states that it was estimated that “about 1 million people inhabited African when the emigrants left the continent 100,000 years ago…and by A.D. 200 numbers are said to have risen to 20 million- of whom more than half lived in North Africa and the Nile valley.” (p.5)

Book Organization

Overall composition

The book contains eight parts, which have several chapters each that outline the

history of Africa from the first knowledge of the continent to the “Dreams and

Nightmares” (p.663) along with a large number of references, notes, appendixes, preface,

and prologue. The book is a fine documented copulation of fact and information that any

Reader from the novice of the general public to the serious history student would find as

a great tool for their enlightenment and study.

(Part 1) Starts with the known beginning history of the continent as well as the first recognized history of humankind. Africa is the Earth’s most ancient and permanent landmass. Ninety seven percent of the continent has been in its position and enduring for more than 300 million years. Africa has had more of its land surface covered with tropical foliage for a greater extended period of time than any other site on earth.
(Part 2) Reveals the study of fossilized artifacts of human development in Africa has been distinctive, incomplete and wide-ranging. It also tantalizes many science scholars. The vital stages are still a matter of conjecture. The text continues with the evidence, of the early history of Africa and human development. Fossils, genetics...

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