The African Genius presents the ideas, social systems, religions, moral values, arts, and metaphysics of a range of African peoples. Basil Davidson points toward the Africa that may emerge from an ancient civilization that was overlaid and battered by colonialism, then torn by the upheaval of colonialism's dismantlement. Davidson disputes the notion that Africa gained under colonialism by entering the modern world. He sees, instead, an ancient order replaced by modern dysfunction. Davidson's depiction of the sophisticated native genius that has carried Africans through centuries of change is vital to an understanding of modern Africa as well.