By Jean Marie Allman
Bearing the historical image of the Asante state, the porcupine, the nationwide Liberation circulate (NLM) stormed onto the Gold Coast’s political level in 1954, mounting one of many first and most important campaigns to decentralize political energy in decolonizing Africa. Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) used to be the 1st colony in sub-Saharan Africa to safe political independence from Britain. The fight for complete self-government was once led via Kwame Nkrumah, the best recommend of African nationalism and Pan-African harmony within the post-World warfare II era. The NLM threatened the soundness of Nkrumah’s preindependence executive and destroyed clients for a delicate transition to complete self-rule. although NLM calls for for Asante autonomy mobilized hundreds of thousands of contributors, marchers, and electorate, the NLM used to be not able to prevent plans for a unitary govt in a brand new nation. below Nkrumah, Ghana grew to become self sufficient in 1957. Marginalized politically via 1958, the NLM has every now and then been marginalized through students as well. solid into the shadows of educational inquiry the place history’s losers frequently stay, the NLM got here to be characterised as a tribalist ghost of the previous whose foreordained defeat was once worthwhile of a few realization, yet whose dazzling upward thrust used to be no longer. this present day, while it's a long way more durable to brush aside decentralizing activities and substitute nationalisms as issues of the earlier, Jean Marie Allman’s wonderful The Quills of the Porcupine recovers the heritage of the NLM as a favored circulate whose achievements and defeats have been rooted in Asante’s heritage and within the social conflicts of the period. Allman attracts skillfully on her vast interviews with NLM activists, on various released and archival resources in Ghana, and on British colonial records—many of them lately declassified—to offer wealthy narrative element. refined in its research of the NLM’s ideology and of the appeals of the flow to varied strata inside Asante society, The Quills of the Porcupine is a pioneering case learn within the social historical past of African politics. a thrilling tale firmly located in the context of the massive theoretical and historic literature on classification, ethnicity, and nationalism, its value reaches a ways previous the borders of Asante, and of Ghana.