History- Book Review (Postcolonialism)

Book Review:

Post-colonialism by Robert Young

(Author’s name)

(Institutional Affiliation)



In his book, Post-colonialism: An Historical Introduction, Young examines how decolonization has affected the west. Specifically, the author highlights some of the social, political, and cultural effects of decolonization and how they have impacted Western dominance over other countries and states. Some of the key topics or concepts discussed in the book include aboriginal people, hybridity, land, power, postcolonial feminism, as well as, characteristics of postcolonial cities and states. Throughout the book, the author examines the rise of anti-colonial movements in countries that had been colonized by the west, and their role in the development of these states into post-colonialism. This paper provides a critical analysis of the book, Post-colonialism: An Historical Introduction. Specifically, the paper examines the author’s thesis, the presentation of his argument, illustrating the strengths, weaknesses, and biases of the book.

Post-Colonialism: An Historical Introduction

By Robert J Young

The book, Post-colonialism: An Historical Introduction, presents one of the most influential books to historians and other academicians. This is because the author examines the concept of post-colonialism, a topic that has generated plenty of debate in academic circles. At the outset, the author does not examine this topic using a debating attitude but instead he tries to explain this concept from a different view than other post-colonialism authors. In essence, the author tries to change his readers’ views and perception about the world and the concepts of colonization, decolonization, and post-colonialism. To convince his readers, the author incorporates the works of other historical theorists such as Frantz Fanon, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, and Edward Said. He does this so as to give his readers the assurance that his work is properly researched and embraces the views and perceptions of different people. The author begins by explaining to his audience that post-colonialism is all about turning the world around and examining this concept from a different perspective. According to the author, many people have failed in evaluating the concept of post-colonialism because they focus more on the western colonizers instead of concentrating on the aboriginal and disenfranchised communities.

Accordingly, the presumable thesis that the author presents in his book is that post-colonialism is a concept that is only understood through the perspective of the colonies and its people. Subsequently, the author further illustrates the advantages of examining the concept of post-colonialism from the perspective of these communities. Accordingly, the author supports his thesis by providing evidence in the form of various events and occurrences that occurred in diverse colonies around the world. He examines the stories of various states with relation to post-colonialism, and provides a different perspective of these stories from what the readers have. Most of the evidence provided in the book is relevant to his thesis, and for that reason, does not detract from the concepts and thoughts being presented in the book. Two main stories strike out in the book including the quandary of the homeless people in Brazil, and the mandatory exposure of Muslim women under American rule through the Shah in Iran. These to stories give a clear illustration of how the concept of post-colonialism in the respective states has been misunderstood from the western perspectives. The author tells the struggles of these people, which in turn changes the readers’ lines of though regarding the state of affairs in these countries and states. Another concept that the author has stressed throughout the book regards the rise of anti-colonial movements in these states. These movements are responsible for the development of the states into their postcolonial state, and for that reason, he considers them significant factors in comprehending the concept of post-colonialism.

Arguably, the book’s strength lies in the way the author integrates the ideologies of anti-colonial movements with Marxist critiques of colonialism. By doing this, the author cements his ideas and perceptions in a strong way that challenges the readers. Though the author provides a good argument regarding post-colonialism, and he goes on to do it in a well written manner, one cannot help but criticize the apparent prejudices and biases presented in the book. The author clearly states that his argument is based on the perspective of the aboriginal groups in the countries whose stories he explores. This, therefore, implies that the information presented in the book is a foregone conclusion. Instead of comparing the western perspectives with the native perspectives so as to give the readers room to draw up their own conclusion, the author seeks to change the perspectives of the readers. He indirectly tries to shape the thoughts of the readers to fit his own, as well as, that of the native communities. Subsequently, the readers end up sympathizing with the disenfranchised communities, with disregard to the Western perspectives. Conclusively, the book is of great value to its readers as the work thought presented is vigilantly, provoking. The book urges its readers, as well as, academicians to examine post-colonialism and world affairs from a different perception.


Young, Robert J. Post-Colonialism: An Historical Introduction. New York: Blackwell Publishers, 2001.