Africa's Armies Robert B. Edgerton Term Paper

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Africa's Armies

Robert B. Edgerton provides a multi-faceted review of Africa's potential for discovery. The author explores from an "anthropological" perspective (supposedly) the "cultural and historical land of Africa" (Shaw, 2005), focusing primarily on the many armies of Africa and their role during many wars. These include the British and Zulu wars that took place during the 19th century and the Crimean War, the rebellion of Mau Mau and the warriors of the Asante that lived in West Africa (Shaw, 2005). In many instances Edgerton reviews each of these with regard to the "primitive" societies that engaged in these controversies, noting that Africa's military forces must explore "possible pathways to the future well-being" of the country (p. 8). The author notes that during colonial times and previous to this, many of the great warriors of Africa fought for honorable and courageous causes, however the author then suggests that after West Africa recaptured its freedom and independence from British settlers and other colonial settlers, the "African militias selfishly grabbled power" and because of this the country faced "catastrophic" and miserable results (p. vii; Shaw, 2005). Edgerton is a powerful anthropologist that explores the reasons for war during pre and post colonial times and compares them with the meaningless wars that followed and that still ravage Africa today. The author suggests that the militias in Africa would do better to support the people, their right to freedom and their right to basic human rights than to fight for causes that include ownership of land or power over other groups in Africa.

Many of the modern wars and rebellions are more egotistical in nature, or that is what Edgerton leads the reader to believe. He suggests the militias of Africa are now no better than any other army of the world interested in dividing and conquering for selfish rather than for realistic reasons. Edgerton provides a very brief review of the culture of Africa and the reasons Africa went to war prior to its independence. Following this, the work offers a detailed description of the resistance African militia men have offered against other groups that would settle within the country. Topics that are covered are the same subjects one would expect from any anthropologist interested in understanding the cultural and historical reasons for the status of people living in Africa today. Edgerton fails to provide the reader with information that would define who in Africa is considered the "army" and how the army compares with people that are merely "rebels" and people that are "formal members of the militia." The book suggests it will provide an in-depth analysis of how and why African is infamous today, but the book is lacking in this respect.

Why? One associates the word "infamous" with notions of something or someone or a group that is detestable or evil in its ways. One could easily associate this term with a militia or army that set out to kill innocent civilians or the very people that make Africa what it is today. However, Edgerton does not provide an in-depth review of what he considers the army vs. rebels vs. The militia. The reader is left to ponder whether Edgerton meant to accuse the tribal people's living within Africa as being corrupted or maligned in evil ways with shameful purpose. Edgerton clearly suggests that pre-colonial armies and members of the rebellions were courageous if not heroic in their efforts. He does a fair job of describing why he feels this way, noting the early wars for independence were "heartfelt" and engaged in to free the African people from bondage.

After this however, there is not enough discourse to figure out why Edgerton looks so critically on the armies and rebels of Africa today. He does mention and review the civil strife taking place in Africa, which most people and many anthropologists are aware of and have studied closely. However, this would not help the reader that is unfamiliar with present-day Africa understand why the army today should be considered anything but courageous. True, the average reader would acknowledge that the people of Africa endure… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Africa's Armies Robert B. Edgerton.  (2007, December 17).  Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/africa-armies-robert-b-edgerton-provides/4374056

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"Africa's Armies Robert B. Edgerton."  Essaytown.com.  December 17, 2007.  Accessed January 20, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/africa-armies-robert-b-edgerton-provides/4374056.