Writing Revolt: An engagement with African nationalism 1957-67 by Terence Ranger

It’s hard to imagine any historian of twentieth-century Zimbabwe picking up this book and not saying, ‘At last!’ But this isn’t a typical insider’s account. Ranger's voice is there, to be sure, but it is mediated with letters from a wide variety of political actors and observers, in and out of the country and in and out of prison. The result is a book of great intimacy and integrity.


Luise White, Professor of History, University of Florida

Writing Revolt is much more than a remarkable memoir from a pioneer of African history.  In this enthralling account one can watch Terence Ranger facing the self-imposed tests of moral courage when liberal principles confronted the increasingly bitter uncertainties of nationalist struggle in Rhodesia – while all the time searching for and then working furiously on the theme of resistance that would inspire a generation and more of African historians.

John Lonsdale, Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge

Terry Ranger’s last book, Bulawayo Burning, was published in 2010, over fifty years after his first arrival in Southern Rhodesia as a university teacher. He now reviews those early days in Writing Revolt. It is at once an eyewitness account of developing African nationalism, a vivid portrait of mid-century life in the country, and an explanation of how Ranger became the scholar he is.

The intimacy and vivacity of the book are accentuated by Ranger’s access to his own extensive correspondence, and to the remarkable diaries of his friend and university colleague, John Reed.

Terence Ranger is Emeritus Rhodes Professor of race Relations, University of Oxford.

Cover photograph: At Salisbury airport on the day of deportation, 27 February 1963: [l to r] Terence Ranger, Shelagh Ranger, Maurice Nyagumbo, Joshua Nkomo, Robert Chikerema, Robert Mugabe, John Reed. (Courtesy of David Wiley)


ISBN  978-1-77922-215-2