Acres of coverage in Kenya over Harvard historian Caroline Elkin's 'Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya'. Typically for a 'progressive historian' Ms. Elkins was able to offer no evidence for comments like, 'We know 11,500 people officially died in the Mau Mau uprising, but it could be 100,000'.
Mau Mau was not a pleasant episode in Kenya's history; the gangs were mostly ruthless and barbarically cruel, as were many British or settler counter-insurgents. Ms. Elkins has chosen to be an advocate for one side, but history has two. Many would argue Mau Mau unneccessarily interfered with Jomo Kenyatta's political independance movement. Radicals wish to remake it into a neo-Marxist 'liberation war'. In truth Mau Mau remains an enigma, part Maji-Maji style African 'magical rebellion', part liberation struggle and certainly a civil war within the Kikuyu tribe of modernists vs traditionalists.
Thousands of Christian Africans were slaughtered in terrorist intimidation by the Mau Mau, as well as tens of thousands being interned in camps by the British. Conditions ranged from vile to quite reasonable. Torture and counter-torture were rife. The British did themselves little credit and the Mau Mau likewise.
Resemblances to the true Soviet gulags are overblown. Mau Mau was broken within 5 years and the detention policies wound down. There must have been many untold atrocities on both sides, but the biggest public scandal was 8 detainees 'disciplined' to death at Hola detention camp. Unlike Russia , this was openly investigated in the House of Commons and by the press. The British government nearly fell in the ensuing Abu Ghraib-type scandal.
Most of Stalin's millions of prisoners in Siberia would have happily swapped places with many Mau Mau detainees.