This book was interesting - I don't know much about the Muridiyya and this is certainly a detailed account of their growth at the turn of the 20th century. The author argues against the dominant portrayal of the rise of Muridiyya - namely that it was almost exclusively a reaction to French colonialism and that the Murids were 'collaborators' in helping the French consolidate power in West Africa - and argues instead that it was much more in line with African-initiated shifts in Islam dating from much earlier in the 19th century that was shaped as much by the Murids as the French. In this way, he joins the recent trend in African history to diminish the centrality of the colonial powers while acknowledging their military and political prowess, describing the colonial encounter as a 'negotiation' or 'accomodation.' Seeing as Babou is himself connected to the Murids (maybe part of?), some parts were written with a rather uncritical eye, which makes the book both more personal and more frustrating to read. His argument often gets lost in the sheer detail he establishes about the life of Amadu Bamba (lots lots lots of names oh man) and if it wasn't for his concise introduction and conclusions, it would be a tricky read indeed.