This book tells for the first time the story of the dirty war the British fought in Kenya, in the run-up to the country's independence in 1964. In 1952, after years of tension and bitterness, the grievances of the Gikuyu people of central Kenya exploded into open rebellion. Only 32 European settlers died in the subsequent fighting, but more than 1,800 African civilians, over 3,000 African police and soldiers, and 12,000 Mau Mau rebels were killed. Between 1953 and 1956 Britain sent over a thousand Kenyans to the gallows, often on trumped up or non-existent charges. Meanwhile 70,000 people were imprisoned in camps without trial for between two and six years.
David Anderson provides a full and convincing account of a war in which all sides behaved badly, and therefore few of the combatants can be either fully excused, or blamed. These events are still within living memory, and eye-witness testimonies provide the backbone of this controversial story.
David Anderson is Lecturer in African Studies and Research Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford. He was formerly Director of the Centre for African Studies at the University of London. Co-editor 1988-98 of the Journal of African History, he has also edited a number of collections on the history of Kenya and Africa. He lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire.