I'm still reading The Civilizations of Africa, which is a really good book. I especially like the emphasis on what people ate, what they worshipped, what sort of interactions did they have with the people around them. It makes everything much more interesting than just in 300 AD, King X ascended to the throne of Country Y, which may turn many people off. I learned a lot- but some broad themes that I will assimilate into my understanding of history from now on are the fact of independent discoveries of things in different places- the author comes to this several times- copper working may have first been done in the Americas, but it was also independently invented in Africa, the interactions of peoples(this is especially stressed, with the mixing of religions and cultures), especially the effects of trade- if I am remembering this right, it was Muslim traders that took Islam to North Africa.
I also like how the author talks about Africa for its own sake. Of course, this is an entire book on it, but it doesn't center on Europe and talk about Africa in relation to Europe- if other places in the world are mentioned, it's in relation to Africa. This change in perspective is really mind broadening.