Book by Hassan Ansah
In the Shadows of the Ancestors follows leading Afro-American journalist and writer Hassan Ansah into his penetrating voyage back to his ancestral land. The writing is both an inspirational and transformational journey into the collective heart, mind, and history of the African Diaspora.
Based on the author’s personal meetings and interviews with African leaders, historians, social workers, spiritual shamans, as well as ordinary Africans, allowed him to create a concise masterpiece.
This book goes beyond the stereotypes of Africa often associated with surface images of violence, poverty, and failure: Instead illuminating Africa’s incredible ability to reinvent, heal, and project itself into tomorrow.
Ansah has a rare acumen to articulate a vibrant, passionate, yet ruthlessly unsentimental portrait of societies traumatized by centuries of colonial conquest yet immured with an optimistic hope for the future.
Strikingly wide-ranging and multi layered, he is able to bridge and intertwine seemingly disparate stories, cultures, and experiences into a beautifully cohesive tapestry of cultural and historical expressions:
From Santeria practitioners in Brooklyn N.Y to modern day Arab slave traders in western Sudan, the narrative is profoundly enchanting.
He argues that the key to understanding the deep complexity of Africa is by being able to embrace the paradoxical. Ansah shares his wide perspective on both African reality and hopes, not only as a professional journalist, but also from his keen, insightful, and sensitive first hand experiences as an Afro-American seeking his cultural roots.
The book captures a mysterious, vast, and dynamic continent that is often inaccessible to foreigners and barely visible to its own people. Relentless in its honestly, galvanizing in the sharpness of his prose, In the Shadows of the Ancestors is a work of tremendous wisdom and piercing vision.