Book Reviews 205
pen “if the Luyia declared war against miners” (103)—pungent incidents
that illuminate widespread attitudes.
The book says less about mine labor and about how the mine system
was regulated. Shilaro gives the impression that there was some regulation
but not provision of housing, health care, or other services on any serious
basis. There was no actual ban on Africans as mine owners, but only a hand-
ful obtained the right to mine legally.
A noteworthy feature of A Failed Eldorado is the role of women: as white
prospectors, as resisters to land abuse and occupation, and as traders who
earned cash from produce sales. Shilaro also suggests that cash earnings in
North Kavirondo increased by perhaps one-third due to mining earnings.
Women growers and traders, some mine employees, not to speak of illegal
miners (whom some wiser officials actually thought ought to be given some
rights) might have deserved more attention and suggest that the balance
was not entirely negative despite Shilaro; as with almost all colonial initia-
tives, there were African beneficiaries and divisions over events.
Mining will hardly take over as the main theme of Kenyan history. But
this book presents a vigorously pursued and very useful addendum to a
social and political literature usually dominated by struggles over agricul-
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban, KZN, South Africa
Israel Gershoni and Meir Hatina, eds. Narrating the Nile: Politics, Cultures,
Identities. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publi