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British Missionaries and the End of Empire
East, Central, and Southern Africa, 1939-1964
PAPERBACK; Published: 7/26/2011
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6633-2
Price: $ 40.00
256 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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One of the International Bulleton of Missionary Research's Fifteen Outstanding Books of 2011 -- Mission Studies

Series: Studies in the History of Christian Missions (SHCM)

In -depth study of Protestant missions to Africa in a turbulent era

In British Missionaries and the End of Empire, historian John Stuart provides the first book-length history of British Protestant missionary experiences in east, central, and southern Africa during the tumultuous years between 1939 and 1964.

Focusing on Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and Kenya (with an eye for South African influence on mission affairs), Stuart portrays the uneven and evolving relationship between Protestant missionaries, the British empire, and African nationalists. He shows how missionaries sometimes supported empire, sometimes drew comfort from it, sometimes criticized it, yet finally learned to live with its formal demise, continuing their work in the newly formed African independent states even after the end of empire.
REVIEWS
Philip Murphy
— Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London
"This important book fills a major gap in our understanding of the part played by missionaries in the process of decolonization in British tropic Africa. John Stuart offers a meticulously researched and highly readable account of the attempts of missionary groups to adapt to developments that were to challenge the system of colonial rule and their own role within it. He brings this neglected aspect of the end of empire in Africa vividly to life."
Joanna Lewis
— London School of Economics
"This beautifully written book is a must-read for anyone interested in African history and the end of empire. John Stuart's meticulous research and impeccable judgment have combined to produce a fascinating account of how Christian men and women faced the challenges, contradictions, and complexities across a number of hot spots within the British Empire in Africa after 1939. There has never been a sharper, more nuanced account of how missionary institutions and communities tried to manage the increasingly incompatible forces of African nationalism, colonial states, and British politics."
Sarah Stockwell
— King's College London
"This major new study helps open up the important subject of Protestant missions in British Africa at the end of empire. It will be essential reading not just for those interested in the history of mission and religion but also for all those concerned with the fraught processes of British decolonization in east and central Africa."
David Maxwell
— Emmanuel College, Cambridge
"Stuart's important book breaks fresh ground in the study of Christian missions. While there is now a rich literature on the missionary encounter in Africa, scholars have neglected the twentieth century, when the widespread Christianization of the continent took place. The era of decolonization has been even less studied. Stuart reconstructs this period with great insight, showing how crucial it was in the transition from mission to African church. He shows an increasingly professionalized missionary body wrestling with the challenges of urbanization, secularization, and Christian independency. The sheer vitality of African nationalism caused many missionaries to consider for the first time what it meant to be an African Christian. British Missionaries and the End of Empire will provide a baseline for all future studies of mission in the era of Africa's decolonization."
John Darwin
— University of Oxford
"John Stuart has written the first full-length scholarly study of the impact of decolonization on the British missionary enterprise. . . Authoritatively and elegantly written, crackling with insight, and drawing on a huge range of archival sources, this book will be recognized as indispensable in the study of both mission history and decolonization."
Journal of Ecclesiastical History
"Well-conceived, lucid and finely written volume. . . . A must-read."
International Journal of African Historical Studies
"Meticulously researched, compellingly written and an insightful account."
International Bulletin of Missionary Research
"A carefully researched, broadly focused, and pleasantly written account of missions at the end of colonialism. . . . An important contribution to the field."
Church Times
"Stuart's well-researched and well-written book throws much light on the background of the current tensions and suspicions in the Anglican Communion between post-colonial African Churches and the Churches of the former colonial powers."