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It was only when they have been thrown against the Egba capital, Abeokuta, that they tasted defeat. Two livid assaults in town, in 1851 and 1864, failed dismally, partially due to Dahomean overconfidence, but principally as a result of Abeokuta was a formidable target—a huge town ringed with mud-brick partitions and harboring a inhabitants of 50,000. Their first impediment is a wall—large piles of acacia branches bristling with needle-sharp thorns, forming a barricade that stretches nearly 440 yards. The troops rush it furiously, ignoring the wounds that the 2-inch-lengthy thorns inflict. After scrambling to the highest, they mime hand-to-hand combat with imaginary defenders, fall back, scale the thorn wall a second time, then storm a bunch of huts and drag a group of cringing “prisoners” to where Glele stands, assessing their performance.

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Twice a yr we publish an extra issue of America dedicated to books and all issues literary; one in planting season and one at harvest time. Discerning Deacons, a project based earlier this 12 months for which I function co-director, seeks to create areas for Catholics to faithfully interact in discernment in regards to the diaconate for the lifetime of our church.

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