There’s a fissure in the narrative. The conclusion, in the text-books, is always this: Africa loses. The conclusion is always destruction, poverty, anomie, disease, lethargy,Death. In the end, the nation always turns up on the bottom, trampled by the winning interlopers. But the narrative is only tidy because it’s incomplete: the British aren’t immune to losing. In the first Anglo-Ashanti War, for example, the British military governor Sir Charles MacCarthy ambled into Asanteman with his chest puffed, anticipating victory; he watched his army get totally wiped out, and was eventually vanquished himself, his skull repurposed into a gold-trimmed drinking cup. Imagine that: the British lose.