Forests of Gold
Essays on the Akan and the Kingdom of Asante

By Ivor Wilks

“Wilks’ writing here is as informed, engaged and questing as ever.”

T.C. McCaskie, University of Birmingham, African Affairs

“Wilks is willing to take risks, and even make mistakes, for the sake of opening discussion and expanding knowledge…Forests of Gold is impressive history. One comes away awed at the level of historical reconstruction Wilks has accomplished, demonstrating a level of analysis that has not been achieved regarding almost any other precolonial African state, and which has been achieved here because of Wilks’s forty years of commitment, sensitivity, integrity, and belief in the profession of history and the history of African peoples.”

Donna J.E. Maier, University of Northern Iowa, The International Journal of African Historical Studies

“Wilks’ contribution to our understanding of the history of Asante and that of other Akan-speaking peoples is incalculable. It is evident not only in his own work but in that of the published research of the many talented students he has directed during a long, fruitful career.”

Richard Rathbone, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Journal of African History

Forests of Gold is a collection of essays on the peoples of Ghana with particular reference to the most powerful of all their kingdoms: Asante. Beginning with the global and local conditions under which Akan society assumed its historic form between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, these essays go on to explore various aspects of Asante culture: conceptions of wealth, of time and motion, and the relationship between the unborn, the living, and the dead. The final section is focused upon individuals and includes studies of generals, of civil administrators, and of one remarkable woman who, in 1831, successfully negotiated peace treaties with the British and the Danes on the Gold Coast. The author argues that contemporary developments can only be fully understood against the background of long-term trajectories of change in Ghana.


Ivor Wilks is a leading scholar and teacher of African History whose contributions include path-breaking research on Asante. He has published many books and articles on West African government, politics, society, culture, and religion. Wilks retired from Northwestern University where he was the Melville J. Herskovits Professor of African Studies in 1993.

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Anthropology · African History · African Studies · Ghana

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Paperback

978-0-8214-1135-3
Retail price: $32.95, S.
Release date: Nov. 1995
408 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World