A Prospect Best Book of 2021
'A fascinating and timely book.' William Boyd
'Gripping...a must read.' FT
'Compelling...humane, reasonable, and ultimately optimistic.' Evening Standard
'[A] valuable guide to a complex narrative.' The Times
In 1897, Britain sent a punitive expedition to the Kingdom of Benin, in what is today Nigeria,…
Why read it?
1 author picked Loot as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
This is far more than a colonial era whodunit, a recounting of yet another colonial atrocity – though it is that in spades. Yes, in 1897 the British occupation army reacted to the killing of a a few colonial officials by razing an empire to the ground, careless of its causes and its effects. So much, so commonplace. But what an empire! The Benin artworks the army looted, subsequently dispersed to museums around the globe, were and still are a revelation to those whose notions of African art were to that point limited to masks and fetishes. A mere catalogue…
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