Transformations in Slavery : A History of Slavery in Africa by Paul Lovejoy is a book dense with facts and analysis. It is definitely not for the casual reader but if you are really interested in the topic of slavery in Africa and how it transformed the political economy there this is probably the book to read.
Transformations in Slavery covers the history of Africa from the perspective of slavery. It looks at how slavery itself changed due to external factors (i.e. Arab and European demands for African slaves) and how the organization of African society was affected by that.
Reading the book, the centrality of slavery in African history over the past few centuries seems clear. Paul Lovejoy analyzes slavery as a “mode of production” and develops a broad outline of that history over the course of the 15th century to the end of the 19th century and in the different regions. He explains how slavery became completely intertwined in and affected the whole system, like trade, government, agriculture.
Hat tip: Conrad Barwa for recommending this book.