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With an Introduction by Bronislav Malinkowski, Facing Mount Kenya is a central document of the highest distinction in anthropological literature, an invaluable key to the structure of African society and the nature of the African mind. Facing Mount Kenya is not only a formal study of life and death, work and play, sex and the family in one of the greatest tribes of contemporary Africa, but a work of considerable literary merit. The very sight and sound of Kikuyu tribal life presented here are at once comprehensive and intimate, and as precise as they are compassionate.

From the Back Cover

''Facing Mount Kenya'' is a central document of the highest distinction in anthropological literature, an invaluable key to the structure of African society and the nature of the African mind. ''Facing Mount Kenya'' is not only a formal study of life and death, work and play, sex and the family in one of the greatest tribes of contemporary Africa, but a work of considerable literary merit. The very sight and sound of Kikuyu tribal life presented here are at once comprehensive and intimate, and as precise as they are compassionate.

About the Author

Jomo Kenyatta, the grandson of a Kikuyu medicine man, was among the foremost leaders of African nationalism. In the 1930s he studied at the London School of Economics and took his degree in anthropology under Bronislav Malinowski.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
94 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Leon Lam
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A key reader of Africa
Reviewed in the United States on December 29, 2016
This study of the Kikuyu people by Kenya''s first president is remarkable. It helped to establish a genre of localist writings on literature, history and philosophy that strive to outline the social landscapes of colonial communities. Facing Mount Kenya is an excellent... See more
This study of the Kikuyu people by Kenya''s first president is remarkable. It helped to establish a genre of localist writings on literature, history and philosophy that strive to outline the social landscapes of colonial communities. Facing Mount Kenya is an excellent anthropological study that defined the Kenyan national narrative. This short book gives valuable insight into the Kikuyu traditions and customs and denounces the arrogant and racist attitude of some colonial administrators. Although not easy to follow, Jomo Kenyatta''s monograph is an important study for those interested in the country and Africa as a whole. Instead of being a "tribal" continent, Africa is more diverse and developed than many people assumed.
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Kushka53
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An insightful look at African legal and social structures through ...
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2016
An insightful look at African legal and social structures through the eyes of the founder of Kenya. A must read for understanding the problems which face the continent today in its attempt to "Westernize."
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Respect The Melanin
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good
Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2016
Its a good resource for studying Afrika in general, and Kenya in particular, during the ending years of colonialism.
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Evie Dorsey
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Gain tribal understanding
Reviewed in the United States on August 16, 2016
Good book to read if traveling to Kenya, also a great read for social anthropology.
2 people found this helpful
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mugikuyu
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
informative
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2011
This book gives a detailed look at how kenyans in general and the kikuyu in particular lived before the coming of the white man. The disruption of this way of life by the British. The sequence of events and the mindsets of the people that eventual led to the revolution war... See more
This book gives a detailed look at how kenyans in general and the kikuyu in particular lived before the coming of the white man. The disruption of this way of life by the British. The sequence of events and the mindsets of the people that eventual led to the revolution war and eventual independence. Should be a must read for anybody who wants to understand the kenyans in general and kikuyus in particular.
4 people found this helpful
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JCS
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Authentic, objective and enlightening by man who became Kenya''s first president
Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2013
Authentic, surprisingly objective and well written in English by a first generation college educated Kenyan. It''s no surprise that he went on to become Kenya''s first president following the end of colonial rule. I recommended it as a "must read" to... See more
Authentic, surprisingly objective and well written in English by a first generation college educated Kenyan. It''s no surprise that he went on to become Kenya''s first president following the end of colonial rule.

I recommended it as a "must read" to anyone ready for a basic understanding of Kenyan "roots".
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Woody
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wonderful Book
Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2011
I have read dozens of books about African Safaris and enjoy hunting books especially in an African setting from the late 1800''s to mid 1900''s. Most of those authors who spent a great deal of time with native African''s always say they "understand the Africans"... See more
I have read dozens of books about African Safaris and enjoy hunting books especially in an African setting from the late 1800''s to mid 1900''s. Most of those authors who spent a great deal of time with native African''s always say they "understand the Africans" intimately.

Comparing their observations with their conclusions it seemed to me that they did not really understand the natives. It took me awhile to find this book, but it is the definitive answer to my question; they dang sure didn''t understand the natives.

With all the world''s problems today with "Tribes" all over the world I think this is a great place to start understanding what is meant by the word "Tribe." To many westerners, European or American it implies "Savage or unsophisticated" but this book will show you they are far more sophisticated than one might think.

It is not a "page turner" by any means, but its not a Text Book either. It''s well written and a wonderful read. Specific issues you will understand a great deal more after this book is female circumcision, and why Christianity''s objection to polygamy pushes them toward the Muslim faith. This book was written in 1938. Maybe I missed it, but I didn''t see that pointed out anywhere. So for perspective the Mau Mau uprising was roughly ''52-''58 and the author became the first President of Kenya in ''63.

I read Martin Meredith''s "The Fate of Africa" a few years ago and I''m actually thinking about re-reading it with a new perspective. Speaking of tough reads, that one is tough.
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Grace Kinyua
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It worked well for my lesson.
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2019
I liked it. It was for my Traditional Religion learning.
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Paul Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Njegeni
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2012
Most interesting to me is the chapter on magical practices and witchcraft; learning the difference between a medicine man and a witch doctor. Kenyatta gives a chilling description of the burning of a witch doctor as related by his grandfather who was a leading elder. Gikuyu...See more
Most interesting to me is the chapter on magical practices and witchcraft; learning the difference between a medicine man and a witch doctor. Kenyatta gives a chilling description of the burning of a witch doctor as related by his grandfather who was a leading elder. Gikuyu society was complex and not understood by the British. No schools or hospitals existed in the accepted sense, but equally there was not an orphanage, old-age home or jail in sight. Law and order was regulated by fear of God and departed spirits and life was a series of rites of passage, ceremonies, sacrifices and rituals. A fascinating book by the LSE educated first President of Kenya.
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Flavio
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book! and extremely serious seller and staff
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 5, 2017
Great book! and extremely serious seller and staff! Happy for the purchase! will be back at the first chance! thanks!
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JB
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 20, 2017
As described, arrived quickly, thanks!
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 3, 2016
great
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2017
Excellent
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