Ghana has been referred to as a weathervane for the rest of the African continent. While it often pointed in the opposite direction its inhabitants wished for, its record of political independence is still positive. Unfortunately, it also has a record of undermined democracy at home, a slanted nonalignment policy abroad, and a ruined economy. These factors led to its first military coup, which almost came as a relief...until military coups became a habit. Fortunately, over the past decade or so there has been a distinct turnaround. Democracy is clearly taking root, the economy is steadily improving, and Ghana is increasingly gaining respect abroad. The third edition of this work traces the history of Ghana from its beginning period that preceded colonization, to the seemingly interminable epoch of British colonization, and finally to the past half century when Ghana regained its independence. This is accomplished through a detailed chronology, which traces the country's major events, and an introduction that puts them in a broader context. The book's core is the several hundred cross-referenced dictionary entries on significant persons, places and events. For those who want to learn more, the extensive bibliography provides a reliable means.
The Historical Dictionary of Ghana is a well-crafted and solid book which is a joy to behold...a beautiful book by all standards....In the book under review, the Professor has certainly presented readers with a concise and useful book which would be of great interest to students, professionals and ordinary readers. I highly recommend that you adorn your library with a copy of this gem of a book.
African Research and Documentation
Useful contribution...one of the best received in its various editions. 2007
Reference and Research Book News
This reference for researchers, general readers, and travelers traces the history of Ghana from the period preceding British colonization through the successful fight for independence and the period of economic decline and political instability that followed. The third edition features information on more recent events, including the return to democratic governance in 1992. Supplementary materials include maps, a chronology, and an extensive bibliography. The author teaches African history at James Madison U.
vol. 21 no. 1 (2007) Reference Reviews
All-in all, this is a major reconstruction and updating of one of the most important reference works relating to the history of Ghana....Owusu-Ansah is to be congratulated on undertaking a major revision when a cosmetic updating would have been an easy option. Likewise, Scarecrow Press must be applauded for continuing to take this series forward and ensuring its content remains relevant and up to date.
**** An update of McFarland's 1984 edition (which was cited in ARBA 1986), this dictionary outlines the course of Ghana history since the probable human habitation at Jiman, on the Oti River, c.10,000 B.C. It covers not only the pre-colonial period, colonization, and the struggle for independence, but more of the post-independence woes and the still tentative upturn, through the beginning of the Fourth Republic in January 1993. It includes numerous entries on the major players and others on crucial events and essential institutions. There is information on the economy, society and culture, key geographical features, and prominent ethnic groups. Includes an extensive chronology and a list of acronyms and abbreviations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
David Owusu-Ansah is Professor of History at James Madison University. He is past president of the Ghana Studies Council (a professional affiliate organization of the African Studies Association), and author of several essays on Ghana including his work on the history of Islam in Ghana.
Part 1 Editor's Foreword Part 2 Acknowledgments Part 3 Maps Part 4 Acronyms and Abbreviations Part 5 Chronology Part 6 Introduction Part 7 THE DICTIONARY Part 8 Bibliography Chapter 9 Introduction Chapter 10 A. Bibliographies and Guides Chapter 11 B. General Information Chapter 12 C. Serials Chapter 13 D. Government Documents Chapter 14 E. Archaeology Chapter 15 F. General History Chapter 16 G. Regional Studies/Local History Chapter 17 H. History before 1840 Chapter 18 I. History, 1840-1956: Colonial Era Chapter 19 J. History since Independence Chapter 20 K. The Economy Chapter 21 L. Geography, Demography, and Travels Chapter 22 M. The Arts Chapter 23 N. Language and Literature Chapter 24 O. Society: Culture and Social Life Chapter 25 P. Religion Chapter 26 Q. Education Chapter 27 R. Health Part 28 Appendix A: British Administrators of the Gold Coast Part 29 Appendix B: Ghanaian Leaders since 1951 Part 30 About the Author