The Krio of Sierra Leone are descendants of black people brought to Africa from Nova Scotia and Jamaica, and "Liberated Africans" freed from slave ships. They were at first favoured subjects of the British, and soon produced an elite of professionals, clergy and entrepreneurs in the white man's image. In their heyday they dominated the endigenous population. From the turn of the century the establishment of a "protectorate" in the hinterland, peopled by more numerous Mende, Temme and others eroded the Krio's privileged position. With the growth of nationalism in the run-up to Independence, relations between them and Sierra Leone's other peoples worsened, and the latter consolidated their grip on the country after the British left. The author has penetrated the character and ethos of his own people as expressed in their aspirations and the careers of their leading figures.