How Societies are Born: Governance in West Central Africa Before 1600 by Jan Vansina
Like stars, societies are born, and this story deals with such births. Hitherto neglected by historians, the rise of societies and cultures in West Central Africa is a captivating story. It asks a fundamental and compelling question: How did societies first coalesce from the small foraging communities that had roamed in West Central Africa for many thousands of years? In ""How Societies Are Born"", Vansina continues a career-long effort to reconstruct the history of African societies before European contact, employing a provocative combination of archaeology and historical linguistics to turn his scholarly focus to governance. Whether cattle, initiations, or social position, Vansina uncovers what drove each society's developmental path, revealing the fascinating motivations behind how societies are born.