Review-Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea

Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea reveals the long-hidden story of those who lived in the region before Liberia was created. The book brings forth inspiring revelations laying bare for the readers the different languages and ethnic groups of Liberia. Burrowes narrates that, the barkless or “kaykay” dog found in Liberian villages were a favorite pet of Ancient Egyptian pharaohs, and kola – once used as an ingredient in soft drinks – was discovered by the ancestors of Liberians. Hence, that early European explorers learned from early Liberian seafarers how to navigate some dangerous currents and winds of the Atlantic Ocean. Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea comes rich with historical facts and does not disappoint. Early Liberian history is on displayed, and readers will soon discover that rice growers from West Africa’s “Grain Coast” helped teach Americans how to grow rice. Today, the United States exports rice to West Africa, including Liberia. Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea took 30 years of research and uses documents first published in Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish and French. It draws on oral traditions, archaeological digs, historical linguistics, studies of cultural patterns embedded in masks and other forms of material culture, regional and continental histories, and even biological anthropology. Just as West African farmers burn a field to remove weeds, Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea demolishes many negative stereotypes. For centuries, African cultures have been portrayed as “strange,” “weird,” even “evil” through the use of words like “fetish,” “witch,” and “country devil.” Instead, the book uses more neutral words to describe African culture, such as ethnic group (not “tribe”) and energy or power (not “spirit”). This book will change Liberian history – and Liberians – for good! The author, C. Patrick Burrowes, Ph. D. was the director of the institutes for research and policy studies at the University of Liberia. From 1995 to 1998, he was the Carter G. Woodson Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Marshall University, where he co-founded the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia, with funding

Carl Patrick Burrowes

from the Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Division. Burrowes is the author of Black Christian Republicanism: The Writings of Hilary Teage, Founder of Liberia and co-author, The Historical Dictionary of Liberia. His research has received awards from the International Communication Association and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Patrick earned a B. A. in Journalism (Cum Laude), Howard University, 1976; M. A. in Communications, Syracuse University, 1979; and Ph. D. in Communications, Temple University, 1994.

 

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