The title of A History of Borno, Trans-Saharan African Empire to Failing Nigerian State has two ambiguities. Situated in the Sahel, Borno did not span the Sahara. It was Trans-Saharan by being linked culturally and economically to the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, rather than to the Atlantic. Whether the failing state is Nigeria or Borno is also unclear.
20 years ago, Ira Berlin pushed the fields of African American history and the history of slavery in the United States in radically new directions. From the 1970s through the 1990s, historians had produced scores of works, scattered across specialized journals and obscure monographs.