West Africa has historically been a place where commerce, religious migration, and the exchange of ideas have been the norm. It was in West Africa that so many of the black captives were taken for shipment across the Atlantic to a life of perpetual slavery in the New World. In West Africa a clash of religions occurred in the form of traditional tribal beliefs, European Christian missionaries, and the proponents of Islam. With its long coastline, West Africa was also a place where commercial exchanges brought not only financial benefit but also the transmission of new idea. It is this region of the African continent that is the focus of this illustrated volume in the "Peoples and Cultures of Africa" series. As in the case of the other five books in this set, this particular book is set up in an encyclopedic format. Entries are alphabetically organized and deal with a wide range of subjects. Among the topics presented are economic issues, artistic trends, religious traditions, cultural variance, and linguistic differences. In the end, readers who peruse the pages of this work will find that they have stumbled upon a valuable resource compendium designed to assist them in their study of Africa. This is a valuable reference book and one that could find a useful niche in a school or classroom library.