The CIA and the Neocolonisation of Africa
The shocking, untold story of how African independence was strangled at birth by America’s systematic interference.
Accra, 1958. Africa’s liberation leaders have gathered for a conference, full of strength, purpose and vision. Newly independent Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and Congo’s Patrice Lumumba strike up a close partnership. Everything seems possible. But, within a few years, both men will have been targeted by the CIA, and their dream of true African autonomy undermined.
The United States, watching the Europeans withdraw from Africa, was determined to take control. Pan-Africanism was inspiring African Americans fighting for civil rights; the threat of Soviet influence over new African governments loomed; and the idea of an atomic reactor in black hands was unacceptable. The conclusion was simple: the US had to ‘recapture’ Africa, in the shadows, by any means necessary.
Renowned historian Susan Williams dives into the archives, revealing new, shocking details of America’s covert programme in Africa. The CIA crawled over the continent, poisoning the hopes of 1958 with secret agents and informants; surreptitious UN lobbying; cultural infiltration and bribery; assassinations and coups. As the colonisers moved out, the Americans swept in—with bitter consequences that reverberate in Africa to this day.
‘This thoroughly-researched account of CIA interference in two newly independent African nations makes for sobering reading … sombre and sharp.’ — The Scotsman
‘A deeply distressing history of CIA involvement in plots to eliminate certain regimes in Africa, particularly in the Congo and Ghana, just as the countries shook off European colonial rule.’ — Kirkus Reviews
‘In this masterpiece of historical analysis on the dirty tricks of the CIA in Africa during the 1960s, Susan Williams delivers her magnum opus. This richly documented narrative is based on outstanding scholarly research … it could not be timelier in throwing light on the institutionalised racism and hypocrisy of Western powers.’ — Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, Professor of African and Global Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
‘Beautifully written and carefully researched. An important contribution to the history of Africa in the context of the Cold War, when the USA and the Soviet Union were locked in a struggle for African influence and control.’ — Martin Plaut, former Africa editor, BBC World Service, and co-author of Understanding South Africa
‘A compelling, meticulously researched account of decolonisation and the forces seeking to thwart that chaotic, protracted, but ultimately liberating process. An informative read which, in examining the death throes of the rapacious colonial project, lays bare the profound injustice imperialism inflicted on Africa and beyond.’ — Shashi Tharoor, Indian MP and author of Inglorious Empire
Dr Susan Williams is a senior research fellow in the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Her pathbreaking books include Who Killed Hammarskjöld?, which in 2015 triggered a new, ongoing UN investigation into the death of the UN Secretary-General; Spies in the Congo, which spotlights the link between US espionage in the Congo and the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945; Colour Bar, the story of Botswana’s founding president, which was made into the major 2016 film A United Kingdom; and The People’s King, which presents an original perspective on the abdication of Edward VIII and his marriage to Wallis Simpson.