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"Michael Pearson... provides us with a fascinating collection of anecdotes, data, and quotations. We travel with him through a range of debates about world systems, littoral societies, [and] the meaning of world history."

"A deeply researched, attractively presented, and question-raising book."

"Pearson, a distinguished scholar of South Asia and Portuguese expansion, boldly takes on the complex history of coastal East Africa during an especially dramatic period that witnessed the coming together of two major pre-modern world systems."

"Michael Pearson has put together an imaginative and yet solidly grounded book about the east African coast extending for 1,500 miles from Mogadish to Delagoa Bay."

"This book is valuable, well written, and clearly argued, with a refreshing sense of excitement at new interpretations... [It is] a pleasure to read for both its content and its style, and his elegantly argued and wide view of the trading system of the Afrasiatic Sea."

"This intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking publication is recommended as essential reading for historians, anthropologists, and all those interested in the history of social, economic, and political formations in the Indian Ocean basin and the Swahili world."