MCMXXXV (1935) "First American Edition"; Alfred A. Knopf publishers, New York; hardbound; very good condition of book and cloth covers; many b/w photos; no dust jacket.
Originally published in 1935, Africa Dances takes the reader on an odyssey across West Africa, in the company of one of the great black ballet stars of 1930s Paris (Feral Benga). It's a devastating critique of colonial rule, which is shown to be destroying African society while Christian missionaries undermine indigenous morality. Wickedly scornful of French rule, and the creator of outrageous portraits of colonial society. Gorer's humor still strikes like a whip across the pretense and hypocrisy of the system.
The book captures the rich physical and psychological detail of African village life--from food and architecture to witch doctors, dance, and magic. Gorer witnesses men diving for three-quarters of an hour without coming up for breath, witch-doctors conjuring thunderstorms out of clear blue skies, and chameleon fetishists whose skin changes from a dirty white to almost black.