Elkins C. Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya. Henry Holt/Jonathan Cape; Caroline Elkins. Professor of History. Elkins, Caroline M. Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya. Henry Holt and Company. IMPERIAL RECKONING The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya. By Caroline Elkins. Illustrated. pp. Henry Holt & Company. $

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Uncovering the brutal truth about the British empire | Marc Parry | News | The Guardian

N othing about Caroline Elkins suggests her as an obvious candidate for the role of Mau Mau avenger. One morning this spring, I accompanied Elkins as she visited the National Archives to look at those files. H elp us sue the British government for torture.

Many settlers from South Africa were also attracted to Kenya, bringing with them a deeply racist attitude. Philip Murphy, who specialises in the history of British decolonisation, attended some of the Mau Mau hearings.

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The Mau Mau uprising had long fascinated scholars. The files within would imperiap a reminder to historians of just how far a government would go to sanitise its past. We will never know exactly how many Mau Lekins camps and prisons the colonial government constructed in Kenya.

This is an amazing book, that should be a recommended reading in every high school. Elkins does not set out to revise well-documented accounts of Mau Mau savagery but to contextualize them against a vast and capricious system of colonial repression.

During the Emergency, Kenyatta, imprisoned after a show trial, was demonized as the head of the Ipmerial Mau. The British went there, kicked the local people off their land and took it over. It was the first time Britain had admitted carrying out torture anywhere in its former empire.


That said, the book feels a bit long. The files could easily have been trashed on at least three occasions, he says, revkoning without publicity.

Which means that it’s a catalogue of beating, torture, rape, starvation, slave labor, disease, arbitrary execution, and a kind of barbarous cruelty that makes the British claim that they were defending civilization against Mau Mau savagery a kind of sick joke and one that rapidly gets oldall bathed in a toxic racism.

Gradually piecing together bits of evidence, Elkins realized that the number of detainees reported officially was exaggeratedly low. This was one of the hardest book that I ever read, even though it was well written and interesting. A man needed land to accumulate the resources necessary to pay bridewealth for a wife or wives, who would in turn bear him children.

Uncovering the brutal truth about the British empire

The turning point came inwhen Anderson, now serving as an expert witness in the Mau Mau case, submitted caeoline statement to the court that referred directly to the 1, files spirited out of Kenya. This is an ugly chapter in British Colonial history. This helped contain the hatred between Kikuyu who joined the Mau Mau revolt and those who fought alongside the British. The Kikuyu farms are split up among their more loyal neighbors or white settlers.

The Mau Mau case has fuelled two scholarly debates, one old and one new. Bono rated it it was amazing. Feb 26, CD rated it really liked it Shelves: They did engage in mass killings but not to the organized level of using the camps just to exterminate. Instead, Britain engaged in an amazingly brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing that seemed to border on outright genocide.


She turned to directly interviewing survivors of the Emergency. Another details the system that would be used to carry out that order. That is what is missing from this book. Rec,oning emerged with a book that turned her initial thesis on its head. What would you expect.

Sadly, even the missionaries out in Kenya, who knew what was going on made ineffective noises of protest, but really did nothing to expose the colonial governemt. Jan 02, Graham Mulligan rated it it was amazing.

She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Hola Massacre of eleven detainees became the focal point of the deceit and the tipping point for the decision to withdraw colonial rule. Chiefs were co-opted with special privileges and land. If I could, I would give it a 2. Some academics shared her enthusiasm. For her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism.

For cariline purposes, it was way too much, and I would not recommend it to anyone other than someone studying Kenya for school, for travel, or for some other reason that makes knowing all of the details important. At the conclusion of the lesson he had all the students take an oath to not become addicted. One of the best books I have read, ever. Hawkish intellectuals pressed America to embrace an imperial role. Details the brutality of the British with regard to their colonies in Africa.

Now 47, she grew up a lower-middle-class kid in New Jersey. The idea was both legally improbable and professionally rec,oning. But Elkins also touches on one perhaps less obvious reason: