A gripping political biography of one of Africa's most controversial leaders. Dark Age recounts the turbulent political career of the late Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the flamboyant president-for-life and later emperor of the Central African Republic/Empire. Brian Titley examines the myths and legends surrounding the man, probes their origins and veracity, and attempts to provide a more balanced perspective on this controversial and misunderstood figure. Following a lengthy career in the French army, Bokassa seized power in the Central African Republic in 1966. His flamboyance and excesses soon became legendary: he was accused of cannibalism, feeding enemies to lions and crocodiles, and beating schoolchildren to death. Bokassa's tendency for self-aggrandizement culminated in 1977 when he named himself emperor and orchestrated a coronation in the style of Napoleon's. He was overthrown by French paratroopers in 1979 and went into exile, but returned to his homeland in 1985 to face a sensational trial. Titley interprets Bokassa's authoritarian and self-aggrandizing style as an attempt to legitimize his regime in a context devoid of indigenous political structures and explores the troubled relations between France and its former colonies. Combining techniques of historical inquiry and investigative journalism, he has produced a fascinating account of a pivotal chapter in contemporary African history.