Reading Wednesday

Book Review Born in Blackness by Howard French

The Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War

What if the history lessons of the world emerging into modernity were re-framed? What if we put Africa and Africans – normally placed at the margins of global development – at the center? This is what Howard French does brilliantly with this sweeping narrative. Here is my book review Born in Blackness by Howard French.

The Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War

This book is long, and it was a perfect Audible for us on a long car trip. I was riveted as French re-frames the story of medieval and emerging Africa, creating a new narrative on the domination and exploitation of Africa and Africans. The so-called enlightenment ideals of Europe’s dehumanizing engagement with the “dark” continent. This period focused on furthering and strengthening European imperialism. French reveals the centuries-old desire to forge a trade in gold with legendarily rich Black societies sequestered away in the heart of West Africa, often turning those societies against each other.

Born in Blackness

French creates a historical timeline that begins with the commencement of commercial relations between Portugal and Africa in the fifteenth century and ends with the onset of World War II. His work demonstrates the important role Africa and Africans played in the rise of the modern world. Presenting historical facts that have been trivialized and forgotten through duplicity for 500 years.


This eye-opening epic revisionist narrative should be read by everyone, although I know it won’t be. Rethinking the history we have been taught with new details and facts is an interesting and fascinating account. An excellent exercise for those of European and African ancestry, it is the benevolent thing to do for understanding the world we live in today.

*****Five Stars for Born in Blackness by Howard French.

Thank you for reading my Book Review Born in Blackness by Howard French. See last weekl’s Book Review Hard by a Great Forest by Leo Vardiashvilli.

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  • Reply Linda Tann

    Thank you for this review! I have placed it on my “must read” list (placing it at the top of my list). Born In Blackness sounds like a book I can get into as we take the train across country. Sooner rather than later.

    May 22, 2024 at 9:16 am
    • Reply Laureen

      An eye opening book for sure

      May 25, 2024 at 8:05 am

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