NPR logo Imperial Reckoning


Imperial Reckoning

The Untold Story Of Britain's Gulag In Kenya

by Caroline Elkins

Hardcover, 475 pages, Henry Holt & Co, List Price: $27.50 |


Buy Featured Book

Imperial Reckoning
The Untold Story Of Britain's Gulag In Kenya
Caroline Elkins

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Book Summary

Reveals how, after the Kenyans fought alongside Allied forces in World War II, the British colonial government detained more than one million Kenyan minorities in prisons and work camps where many met their deaths as a result of a British attempt to destroy official records of the attempt to stop the Mau Mau uprising. 60,000 first printing.

Read an excerpt of this book

Awards and Recognition

Pulitzer Prize (2006)

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Imperial Reckoning

From Imperial Reckoning:
"The colonial propaganda machine, once well-oiled, preyed on the detainees' doubts and fears. Pamphlets in the vernacular, pointing out how misguided was the detainees' belief that African land had been stolen by the British, were circulated throughout the compound. At the same time, loudspeakers blared warnings about ongoing land confiscations, describing how land taken from Mau Mau sympathizers was being redistributed to those loyal to the British cause. "Confess and Save Your Land," was one public broadcast played throughout the Pipeline, and it is bitterly remembered by many of the former detainees today. So too are photographs of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in full regalia, which were displayed alongside images of Jomo Kenyatta in shackles, wild-haired and looking rather dazed and pathetic. The contrast between civilization and savagery could not have been more stark."