African Europeans: Book summary and reviews of African Europeans by Olivette Otele

African Europeans

An Untold History

by Olivette Otele

African Europeans by Olivette Otele X
African Europeans by Olivette Otele
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About this book

Book Summary

A dazzling history of Africans in Europe, revealing their unacknowledged role in shaping the continent.

Conventional wisdom holds that Africans are only a recent presence in Europe. But in African Europeans, renowned historian Olivette Otele debunks this and uncovers a long history of Europeans of African descent. From the third century, when the Egyptian Saint Maurice became the leader of a Roman legion, all the way up to the present, Otele explores encounters between those defined as "Africans" and those called "Europeans." She gives equal attention to the most prominent figures—like Alessandro de Medici, the first duke of Florence thought to have been born to a free African woman in a Roman village—and the untold stories—like the lives of dual-heritage families in Europe's coastal trading towns.

African Europeans is a landmark celebration of this integral, vibrantly complex slice of European history, and will redefine the field for years to come.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The breadth and depth of Otele's research are impressive, as are the vivid characters who populate these pages...By detailing such a wide variety of experiences across a vast geographical and cultural landscape, the author causes us to rethink the way we consider the terms African and European...A thorough, dynamic, accessible narrative that pulls together disparate strands into a unique, fresh history." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Though short on political and socioeconomic context, Otele's profiles reveal the richness and variety of the African European experience. This is a welcome introduction to an underexplored subject." - Publishers Weekly

"Magisterial...A story of violence and exclusion but also extraordinary destinies and achievements. Particularly admirable is Otele's command of the subtleties of identity formation and change over time, as well as her marvellous cast of women characters, such as Jeanne Duval, Baudelaire's muse and lover." - The Guardian (UK)

"Superbly researched...This richly layered history brims with stories of how African Europeans contributed to the culture, politics and language in the countries they lived in." - Prospect (UK)

"This is a book I have been waiting for my whole life. It goes beyond the numerous individual black people in Europe over millennia, to show us the history of the very ideas of blackness, community and identity on the continent that has forgotten its own past. A necessary and exciting read." - Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish)

"Yoking together the 'African' and the 'European,' too often treated as entirely separate categories, Otele skillfully invites her reader to navigate the multiple intersecting worlds inhabited by her characters. This is fundamentally reparative writing that undoes the cultivated ignorance around race and blackness in Europe and shows us what is irrefutably true—that black history is European history, indeed, world history." - Priyamvada Gopal, author of Insurgent Empire

This information about African Europeans shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Olivette Otele

Olivette Otele is professor of the history of slavery at the University of Bristol and vice president of the Royal Historical Society. She is the first Black woman to be appointed to a professorial chair in history in the UK, and her writing has appeared in the Guardian, BBC Extra, and Times Higher Education. She lives in the UK.

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