The core of the book is Oliver's account of his research travels throughout tropical Africa from the 1940s to the 1980s; his efforts to train and foster African graduate students to teach in African universities; his role in establishing conferences and journals to bring together the work of historians and archaeologists from Europe and Africa; his encounters with political and religious leaders, scholars, soldiers, and storytellers; and the political and economic upheavals of the continent that he witnessed.
…an exhaustive resource for intellectual historians and a fitting foundation myth for future Africanists to look back to. Kirkus Reviews University Wisconsin Edition
African Studies Review, March 2000
"Oliver has written an eloquent account of these years, appropriately sprinkled with humour and fairly reflecting the optimism and despair of African academe as it rose in the 1950s and early "60s and suffered setbacks in the "70s and "80s.