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The Killer Trail: A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa

The Killer Trail: A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Historian Bertrand Taithe here offers a gripping account of one of the most disturbing atrocities to take place during the European "scramble for Africa," a real life story that prefigures fictional accounts such as The Heart of Darkness. The Voulet-Chanoine mission left Dakar in 1898 for the Lake Chad region, hoping to establish effective borders between the French and British empires and "pacify" a notoriously belligerent region. The mission soon degenerated into a grisly display of colonial violence, leaving a trail of pillage, murder, and enslavement in its wake. When the story of its outrages reached Paris, there was a public uproar and a second mission was dispatched to investigate. Eventually, on July 14 1899, the two missions clashed in a dramatic shootout, which led Voulet and Chanoine to declare independence from France and to establish an African kingdom under their own rule. But their mad dreams of kingship were cut short when the African soldiers under their command mutinied and killed them both. Was this bloody episode the consequence of two men's madness, or of a far wider set of attitudes?

About the Author

Bertrand Taithe is Professor of Cultural History at the University of Manchester. He has published extensively on war, medicine and war, and humanitarianism, including most recently Benjamin's Arcades: An Unguided Tour, and is an editor of the European Review of History.

Table of Contents

1. Dying for French Soudan

2. Civilization and Africa

3. Privateering for France

4. Manly Soldiers

5. Slaving and African warfare

6. War in the Age of the Dreyfus Affair

7. Remembering Voulet and Chanoine: from the Heart of Darkness to 21st Century Guilt

8. Traumatized Perpetrators?

Product Details

A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa
Oxford University Press
Taithe, Bertrand
null, Bertrand
Africa, central
Government - Comparative
Mission Afrique centrale
Africa, Central Colonization.
Ancient - Rome
Europe - France
World - Colonial Studies
History, World | Africa
World History-General
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
20 b/w plates
7.60x5.30x1.30 in. .95 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » Colonialism and Post-Colonialism
History and Social Science » World History » France » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Killer Trail: A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa
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Product details 304 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199231218 Reviews:
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