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Idi Amin Reviews

Idi Amin by Mark Leopold

Idi Amin: The Story of Africa's Icon of Evil

Mark Leopold

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 3 Nov 2020
ISBN: 9780300154399

The first serious full-length biography of modern Africa's most famous dictator Idi Amin began his career in the British army in colonial Uganda, and worked his way up the ranks before seizing power in a British-backed coup in 1971.

3 stars out of 5
13 Nov 2020

"this book performs the essential task of challenging established stereotypes and querying a host of lazy assumptions, the prime duty of any historian"

Intellectually speaking, it is a supremely honest approach, but, in the first quarter of the book at least, its sheer worthiness threatens to sink the project. As Leopold compares one conflicting account of Amin’s roots and parentage with another — he was a member of the minority Kakwa ethnic group; his father was probably a policeman, his mother likely an army camp follower with healing skills — the eyes start to glaze. But as the book moves from the hazy territory of childhood into better documented adulthood, the narrative begins to bite. 

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
8 Nov 2020

"(A) sharply written, forensically researched book"

In the end Leopold’s book succeeds as a meticulous re-examination of Amin’s life, producing a narrative packed with original evidence, and one that strives at all times to be scrupulously well balanced. The surprise is just how much, through Amin, we learn about ourselves and our own relationship with Africa.