Sean Anderson's important new book, Modern Architecture and Its Representation in Colonial Eritrea: An In-visible Colony, 1890–1941, significantly improves our understanding of the built environment in Eritrea during its half century of Italian colonial rule. Anderson discusses the many roles Eritrea served—as military outpost, demographic colony, agricultural settlement, and imperial symbol—under both liberal and fascist regimes. His nuanced reading of urbanism and architecture fuels a careful study of Eritrea's place in the modernization of Italy.

Eritrea was the Italian state's first colony in Africa, and as the colonia primogenita (firstborn colony) it enjoyed a high level of public and private investment. It also received a great deal...

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