ABOUT THE BOOK:
In the spirit of The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, American National Biography, and African American National Biography-all three published by Oxford University Press-Dictionary of African Biography is a major biographical dictionary covering the lives and legacies of notable African men and women from all eras and walks of life. This groundbreaking resource tells the full story of the African continent through the lives of its people. The rich history of the African people has been unduly neglected in the scholarly literature, and reliable reference material is in short supply.
This trend has begun to change, however, and in recent years many new historical discoveries have been made. Much of this research is designed as a corrective to the long tradition of inadequate treatment by scholars. Although scholarship on Africa is flourishing, very little of this research has yet filtered down into accessible reference works; well designed reference material is essential to promote further scholarly inquiry, learning, and education, and to satisfy increasing interest among nonspecialist audiences. Although there have been some isolated instances of successful biography of Africans, there is no single resource that provides comprehensive coverage. Older reference works focus unevenly on the colonial period, European adventurers, and Egyptian dynasties.
There is very little attention given to the full range of African lives, and rarely is the continent treated as a whole. As a result our picture of Africa's history and its people is incomplete. A comprehensive biographical dictionary will greatly increase our understanding of the African continent and have a transformative effect on education and research. As the most wide-reaching reference project on Africa to date, DAB will be a means of codifying the explosion of new research. Entries will be written by contributing scholars from African studies departments the world over. Each entry has been reviewed by the editorial board to insure only reliable, high-quality material is published. DAB contains 2 million words in nearly 2,200 entries, each with bibliography, ranging from 750 to 2,000 words. It will have a comprehensive index. It comprises six volumes, approximately 500 pages each, and is published in a hardcover edition for specialists and libraries
"it is perhaps impossible to capture the full diversity of Africa - a continent of one billion people, and the most continuous site of the evolution of the human species on our planet - in 2000 biographies. But the DAB provides arguably the most thorough sampling to date of the astonishing richness and variety of African lives over the past 5000 years."
".the DAB is a major achievement. The DAB is thorough and well edited, and the material is easy to access, making this set worthy of inclusion in all public or university libraries"
--Booklist, starred review
"The combination of scholarly entries and breadth of coverage makes this dictionary a distinctive resource for African biography...Summing Up: Highly recommended."
"Students of African history in high school and beyond will find this work invaluable for its covearge of precolonial African personalities. It is a landmark resource that will be greatly appreciated by all enthusiasts of African history and culture."
"They and their contributors have produced a six-volume set that supplies 2,126 well-written and thoroughly-researched biographies. And to their credit, these collective efforts exceed all other previous attempts at creating a biographical reference focused on the entire continent of Africa... a key reference work for academic libraries supporting African studies programs, as well as a valuable addition to nay biographical reference collection"
-- Against the Grain
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Emmanuel Akyeampong is a Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.