Changing Views from an Ivory Tower
Those whose studies seek to discern deep currents of historical change are often surprised by the role which chance has played in their own lives. I became a student of history because a prolonged teenage illness induced an interest in the political news-reporting of 1938 and because this interest was then seized and developed by a gifted teacher of European history, Leslie Gilbert. I became interested in the non-European world because miscellaneous military duties in Malaya during 1946 introduced me to a society of whose rich historical background my courses in wartime Manchester had said little. I began to think specifically (and ignorantly) about Africa because, on returning to study European diplomacy in Manchester, I was privileged to enjoy the friendship of a remarkable Nigerian fellow-student, Eni Njoku. By 1952 I had married a wife who was also anxious to work overseas for a time: a job in Malaya might still have been tempting, but Fourah Bay College advertised first; and my intellectual course was set for a quarter-century.
KeywordsAfrican Study Colonial Rule Parliamentary Democracy European History Grand Design
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