Among the Ibos of Nigeria/
London W.C. I., (10 Woburn Walk): Frank Cass & Co.
An account of the Curious & Interesting Habits, Customs & Beliefs of a little known African People by one who has for many years lived amongst them on close & intimate terms.
The book has one recommendation : it is based on actual experience. There are probably errors which will need rectification. It would be sheer presumption to expect otherwise, for the longer one lives amongst West African natives, the more one is convinced that it is a practical impossibility for the European to comprehend fully the subtleties of the native character. Some white men claim to have done this, but my experience leads me to think that the claim can rarely, if ever, be substantiated with definite assurance. The depths may be sounded at times, but only by accident, and on most of such occasions the inquirer does not recognise that he has actually tapped the inner consciousness of the native. Let not this be thought strange, for the black man himself does not know his own mind. He does the most extraordinary things, and cannot explain why he does them. He is not controlled by logic : he is the victim of circumstance, and his policy is very largely one of drift. ‘The will of the tribe or family, expressed or implied, permeates his whole being, and is the deciding factor in every detail of his life. It is a Sort of intangible freemasonry ; the essence of the primary instincts of the people.