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Bibliography / Book List: Africa: West





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West Africa Coast:

Index / Introduction

Art, Culture & Religion

History and Economics

Literature and Proverbs

West Africa Interior (Sahel):

Art, Culture & Religion

History and Economics

Modern Literature

Natural History


Bashole, R., The African Religion of Brazil. Baltimore, 1978.

Clark, P., West Africa and Islam. Edward Arnold, 1982.

Gay, John and Cole, M., The New Mathematics and an Old Culture. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1967.

Green, M.M., Ibo Village Affairs. Praeger, 1964.

Harley, G.W., Masks as Agents of Social Control in Northwest Liberia. Peabody.

Herskovits, Melville J. and Frances S., (ed.) Dahomean Narrative: A Cross-Cultural Analysis. Northwestern Univ. Pr, 1998.

Hunwick, John, West Africa, Islam and the Arab World.

Lystad, Robert A., The Ashanti: A Proud People. Rutgers, 1958.

McNaughton, Patrcik R., The Mande Blacksmiths: Knowledge, Power and Art in West Africa. Indiana Univ., 1988.

Rattray, Robert S. Religion & Art in Ashanti. Oxford, 1927.

Sarpong, P. Girls' Nubility Rites In Ashanti. Ghana Publishing Co., 1977.

Schwab, George and Harley, G.W. Tribes of the Liberian Hinterland. Peabody, 1947.

Twumasi, P.A. Medical Systems In Ghana. Ghana Publishing Co., 1975.

Smith, Mary F., Baba of Karo: A Woman of the Muslim Hausa. Yale Univ. Press, 1981.

Senghor, Leopold S., On African Socialism. Praeger, 1961.

Voeks, Robert A, Sacred Leaves of Candomble: African Magic, Medicine, and Religion in Brazil Univ of Texas Pr, 1997.


Agbodeka, Francis. African Politics & British Policy in the Gold Coast. Longman, 1971.

Apter, David E., Ghana in Transition. Princeton, 1973.

Birmingham, David, Kwame Nkrumah: The Father of African Nationalism. Ohio Univ Press, 1998.

Buah, F.K., A History of Ghana. Macmillian, 1980.

Chatwin, Bruce, Viceroy of Ouidah. Penguin, 1988 (Benin).

Chazan, Naomi H. An Anatomy of Ghanaian Politics. Westview, 1983.

Daaku, Kwame Yeboa, Trade and Politics on the Gold Coast. Oxford, 1970.

Davidson, Basil, A History of West Africa to the Nineteenth Century. Anchor, 1966.

Decalo, Samuel, Historical Dictionary of Benin. Scarecrow, 1976.

Decalo, Samuel, Historical Dictionary of Togo. Scarecrow, 1976.

Equiano, O., Equiano's Travels. Heinemann, 1967 (Abridged edition of the 1789 book.)

Green, Graham, A Journey without Maps. (Sierra Leone & Liberia).

Harrison Church, R.J., West Africa: Environment and Policies. 1976.

Hopkins, A.G., Economic History of West Africa. Longman, 1973.

Levtzion, Nehemia, Medieval West Africa before 1400: Ghana, Takrur, GAO (Songhay) and Mali as Described by Arab Scholars and Merchants. Markus Wiener Pub, 1998. 1-55876-165-9

McFarland, Daniel Miles, Historical Dictionary of Ghana. Scarecrow, 1998.

Price, J.H., Political Institutions of West Africa. Hutchinson, 1975.

Stride, G.T. and Ifeka, C., Peoples and Empires of West Africa. Africana, 1971.

Webster, J.B. and A. Adu Boahen, Revolutionary Years: West Africa Since 1800. Longman, 1967.

Zolberg, Aristide R., One-Party Government in the Ivory Coast. Princeton, 1969.


Ariel, Tiny Treasury of African Proverbs.

Bryan, Ashley, The Night Has Ears: African Proverbs. Simon & Schuster Children's, 1999.

De Ley, Gerd, African Proverbs. Hippocrene Books, 1998.

Ibekwe, Patrick, ed. Wit and Wisdom of Africa: Proverbs from Africa and the Caribbean. Africa World Press, 1999.

Achebe, Chinua, A Man of the People. Anchor, 1967. (Nigeria; contemporary urban.)

Achebe, Chinua, Anthills of the Savannah. Heinemann, 1987. (Parable of modern Africa.)

Achebe, Chinua, Arrow of God. (Nigeria; clash between colonial & tradition leader.)

Achebe, Chinua, No Longer at Ease. Heinemann, 1960. (Nigeria; a Western educated man returns and must struggle with forgotten traditional expectations.)

Achebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart. Fawcett, 1959. (Nigeria; conflicts in a village during the first encounters in the missionary/colonial period.)

Aluko, T.M., One Man, One Matchet. Heinemann, 1964. (Nigeria; a clash between Western science and African politics.)

Aluko, T.M., Kinsman and Foreman. Heinemann, 1966. (Nigeria; after receiving an education, a man finds adjusting to the ways of his village a challenge.)

Amadi, Elechi, The Concubine. Heinemann, 1966. (Nigeria; a woman, romance, values and religion in a traditional Eastern Nigerian society.)

Amadi, Elechi, Great Ponds. Heinemann, 1969. (Nigeria; the feud between two villages is the setting for a story of traditional society in Eastern Nigeria.)

Aniebo, I.N.C., The Journey Within. Heinemann, 1978. (Nigeria; personal struggles in life, confused with traditional and Christian values.)

Armah, Ayi Kewi, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. Heinemann, 1969. (Ghana; a powerful portrayal of the power of corruption.)

Badian, Seydou, translated by Marie-Terese Noiset, Caught in the Storm. Lynne Rienner Pub., 1998.

Bowen, Elenore Smith, Return to Laughter. Anchor, 1964. (Nigeria; a Western woman observes the women of a traditional village.)

Conteh, Osman, Unanswered Cries. Macmillan, 2002. (Sierra Leone (Temne); a young girl challenges the Bondo Society and ritual for female genital cutting.)

Djoleto, Amu, The Strange Man. Heinemann, 1968. (Ghana; a boy growing-up, schools, corruption and reconciling a man's role in his family.)

Djoleto, Amu, Money Galore. Heinemann, 1975. (Ghana; post-independence politics, corruption, scandals and tragedy.)

Echewa, T. Obinkaram, I Saw the Sky Catch Fire.  Dutton, 1992. (Historical fiction about women in Nigeria.)

Gay, John, Red Dust on the Green Leaves. InterCultural Assoc., 1973. (Liberia; one brother follows traditional ways while the other brother goes away to school.)

Herbstein, Manu, Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. e-reads Publications, 2001. (Historical fiction: Story told by an African girl who is kidnapped into slavery.  It is set on the Slave Coast of West Africa (Senegal to Ghana) and in Brazil.  An excellent but at times very grim story.)

Iroh, Eddie, Forty-Eight Guns for the General. Heinemann, 1976. (Nigeria; set during the Biafra War, the novel critically examines mercenaries.)

Iroh, Eddie, Toads of War. Heinemann, 1979. (Nigeria; set during the Biafra War, the novel critically examines those who live well and get rich off of war.)

Iroh, Eddie, The Siren In The Night. Heinemann, 1982. (Nigeria; a thriller set after the Biafra War when not all the scores are settled.)

Knebel, Fletcher, The Zinzin Road. Doubleday, 1966. (A development worker's idealism clashes with politics and corruption in a country resembling Liberia.)

Laye, Camara, The Dark Child. Noonday, 1954. (Guinea; observations of a boy.)

Laye, Camara, The Radiance of the King. Fontana, 1965. (Guinea.)

Munonye, John, Obi. Heinemann, 1969. (Nigeria; Traditional values come in conflict with a couple's Christian learning when they return to the village.)

Munonye, John, Oil Man of Obange. Heinemann, 1971. (Nigeria; a brother & sister endure hardship to get an education.)

Nwankwo, N., Danda. Heinemann, 1964. (A ne'er-do-well clashes with his father.)

Nwapa, Flora, Efuru. Heinemann, 1966. (Nigeria; A story of a strong woman, a village, and traditional values and beliefs.)

Nwapa, Flora, Idu. Heinemann, 1970. (Nigeria; A woman's life demonstrates traditional values for children, husbands, death and life.)

Nzekwu, Onuora, Blade among the Boys. Heinemann, 1962. (Nigeria; the conflicts between the religion of a man's ancestors and Roman Catholicism.)

Okri, Ben, The Famished Road.  Doubleday, 1993. (This book illustrates the movement between the "This World and the "Other World."  If you are having trouble following this it may help to read pages 487-8, or to read Malidoma Patrice Somé's Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose through Nature, Ritual and Community. Okri is kind of an African Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  He can be a little heady for the uninitiated.)

Peters, Lenrie, Second Round. Heinemann, 1965. (Sierra Leone; A doctor's troubled and unsatisfying life in Freetown.)

Selormey, Francis, The Narrow Path. Heinemann, 1966. (Ghana; a boy's life in fishing village, describing customs and family relationships.)

Soyinka, Wole, The Interpreters. Collier, 1965. (Nigeria; hopes, loves, and hates, among the new intellectuals.)

Tutuola, Amos, Palm-Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.

Umeasiegbu, Rems Nna, The Way We Lived. Heinemann, 1969. (Nigeria; stories of the customs and cultures of a people in Eastern Nigeria.)

Warner, Esther, New Song in a Strange Land (1948), The Crossing Fee and Seven Days To Lomaland. Houghton Mifflin. (Several books by the author's, adventure in traditional West Africa.)



"Mali's Dogon People" National Geographic, Oct 1990.

Beckwith, Carol, Nomads of Niger. Abrams, 1993.

Briggs, Lloyd Cabot, Living Races of the Sahara Desert. Harvard U, 1958.

Briggs, Lloyd Cabot, Tribes of the Sahara. Harvard U, 1960.

Englebert, V. "Drought Threatens the Tuareg World", National Geographic, Apr 1974.

Fisher, Allen G. and Fisher Humphrey J., Slavery and Muslim Society in Africa: The Institution in Saharan and Sudanic Africa. Markus Wiener Pub, 2000.

Gerster, Georg, "River of Sorrow, River of Hope", National Geographic, Aug 1975.

Gerster, Georg, Sahara: Desert of Destiny. Ayer Co Pub., 1970.

Skinner, Elliott P., Mossi of the Upper Volta: The Political Development of a Sudanese People. Stanford U, 1964.

Somé, Malidoma Patrice, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman. Penguin, 1995.


"Jenne-Jeno, West Africa's Oldest City", National Geographic, Sept 1982

Baier, S. Economic History of Central Niger. Clarendon, 1980.

Barth, Heinrich, Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa. London, 1965.

Bovill, Edward W., The Golden Trade of the Moors: West African Kingdoms in the Fourteenth Century. Markus Wiener Pub, 1998.

Bovill, Edward W. The Niger Explored. London, 1968.

Cabral, Amilcar, Revolution in Guinea: Selected Texts. Stage 1, 1969.

Clarke, Thurston. Last Caravan. Putnam and Sons, 1978.

Corbett, Edward M., The French Presence In Black Africa. Black Orpheus, 1971.

Courlander, Harold and Sako, Ousmane. The Heart of the Ngoni: Heroes of the African Kingdom of Segu. Crown, 1982. (Kingdom of Segu.)

Curtain, Philip. Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History. Cambridge Univ Press, 1990 (Re: Atlantic slave trade.)

Decalo, Samuel, Historical Dictionary of Niger. Scarecrow, 1976.

DeGramont, Sanche, Strong Brown God: The Story of the Niger River. Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1976. (Account of the exploration & opening of the fabled West African river, that was resisted as much by the Africans as it was by the mosquitoes.)

Djata, Sundiata A.K., The Bamana Empire By the Niger: Kingdom, Jihad and Colonialization, 1712-1920. Markus Wiener Pub, 1998.

Glatz, M.H., Politics of Natural Disaster: The Case of the Sahel Drought. Greenwood Pub., 1976.

Gwin, Peter, "Lost Tribes of the Green Sahara", National Geographic, Sept 2008.

Hammer, Joshua, The Bad-Ass Librarian of Timbuktu. Simon & Schuster, 2016.

Hargreaves, John D., West Africa: The Former French States. Prentice-Hall, 1967.

Imperato, Pascal James, Historical Dictionary of Mali. Scarecrow, 1977.

Lupton, Kenneth. Mungo Park: The African Traveler. Oxford, 1976.

McFarland, Daniel Miles, Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso. Scarecrow, 1998.

Moulton, Jeanne M., Animation Rurale: Education for Rural Development. Center for International Education, U of Massachusetts, 1977.

Nachtigal, Gustav and Fisher, Allan G., Sahara and Sudan: Bornu, Kanem, Borku, Ennedi. London, 1971.

Oloruntimehin, B.O., Segu Tukulor Empire. Humanities Pr, 1972.

Villiers, Marq & Hirtle, Sheila, Into Africa: A Journey Through the Ancient Empires. Key Porter Books, 1997.

Welch, Galbraith, Unveiling of Timbuctoo. Carroll and Graf, New York 1991 - orig. pub. 1939 by William Morrow, NY. This is a wonderfully riveting account account of Caillié's explorations and eventual journey to and from Timbuktu.


Ba, Miriama, So Long a Letter. New Horn, 1981. (Senegal; reflections on tradition by a Moslem woman.)

Conde, Maryse, Segu. Ballantine Books, 1987. (Mali; historical fiction.  Very readable and covers a lot of 18th and 19th century West African history.)

Ekwensi, Cyprian O., Burning Grass. Longman, 1962. (Nigeria; pride of a woman herder.)

Niane, D.T., Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. Longman, 1965. (Guinea; a story transcribed from a traditional griot.)

Ousmane, Sembene, God's Bits of Wood. Heinemann, 1962. (Senegal & Mali; The gripping lives of the people in the 1947-8 Dakar-Niger railway workers strike.)

Ousmane, Sembene, Money-Order with White Genesis. Heinemann, 1987.

Ousmane, Sembene, Xala. Heinemann, 1990.

Ousmane, Sembene, Last of the Empire. Heinemann, 1984.

Ousmane, Sembene, Selected filmography: Borom Sarret (1963), Niaye (1964), La Noire de...(1966), Mandabi (1968), Xala (1974), Ceddo (1977), Camp de Thiaroye (1988), Guelwaar (1992), Faat Kiné (2000), and Moolaadé (2004),


Serle, W., Morel, Gerald J. & Hartwig, W. Collins Field Guide: Birds of West Africa. Collins, 1997.

Swift, Jeremy. Sahara . Time-Life, 1975.

African Online - Specializes in all categories of books from Nigeria.


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