Book Reviews : H. A. S. Johnston, The Fulani Empire of Sokoto. London, Oxford University Press, 1967, 12 plates, 6 maps, xvi, 312. $9.25
AbstractBook ReviewsH. A. S. Johnston, The Fulani Empire of Sokoto. London, Oxford University Press, 1967, 12 plates, 6 maps, xvi, 312. $9.25 SAGE Publications, Inc.1969DOI: 10.1177/002190966900400311 Peter Marshall McGill University, Montreal, Canada An unobtrusive but rewarding consequence of the ending of British colonial administration has been the transformation of officials into historians and the production of studies testifying to a mastery of local conditions and materials. Mr Johnston's history of the Empire of Sokoto has converted years of private investigation during public service into a narrative of enduring value. Many historians of European origin or education have tended to dismiss Islamic Africa as a region fatally flawed by social stagnation, economic torpidity, and religious intolerance. This study exposes the superficiality of such judgments in its description of the rise and decline of an Empire whose founder, Shehu Usuman dan Fodiyo, is declared a ruler Lllllqlle in African history. Such a high claim is not easily sustained. Shehu must obviously be accorded a dominant role in the establishment of Islamic power, but Mr Johnson's analysis of a ruler who combined religious zeal with political diffidence and appeared unworldly yet possessed great powers of leadership, lacks an entirely satisfying quality.