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Mau Mau: Review Essay: Mau Mau and Nationhood: Arms, Authority, and Narration, Eds. E. S. Atieno Odhiambo and John Lonsdale. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2003.

Catherine Cymone Fourshey


The twelve essays in this edited collection consider the place of the various Mau Mau events, between 1947 and 1965, in Kenyan national history. The chapters each contend with a different aspect of Mau Mau ranging from issues of gender, representations of Mau Mau in written and oral histories, British perspectives on Mau Mau, and the multiple experiences of Kenyans during Mau Mau. The editors assert, that what this book begins to show . . . is that Mau Mau is by no means the only narrative through which Kenya can come to terms with its past and thus with itself.[1] The important first question that must be posed is why these articles have been published together in a collection. Would they have generated greater attention from a wider audience if published individually as articles in journals or even as chapters in edited volumes that look at similar issues of nationalism, terrorism, psychological impacts of liberation struggles in other contexts? The editors provide reasonable justification for a single volume on Mau Mau: Memories and retellings of Mau Mau must be demystified and defocused within the narratives of Kenyan independence and nation building, a collection of essays in a single volume is the means of achieving this.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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