White Malice

The CIA and the Neocolonisation of Africa

September 2021 9781787385559 400pp, 24pp b&w illus


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 powerful alliance. Everything seems possible. But, within less than a decade, both men will have been targeted by the CIA, and their dream of true African autonomy destroyed.

The US intelligence agency, watching the Europeans withdraw from Africa in the middle of the Cold War, was determined to take control. Pan-Africanism was inspiring African Americans in their fight for civil rights; the threat of Soviet influence loomed over new African governments; and the idea of an atomic reactor in black hands was unacceptable. The conclusion was simple: the US had to ‘recapture’ Africa from the shadows, by any means necessary.

In White Malice, renowned historian Susan Williams dives into the archives, revealing new, shocking details of America’s covert programme to undermine African independence. The CIA crawled over the continent, poisoning the hopes of 1958 with secret agents, informants and surveillance; surreptitious lobbying at the UN; 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.



Susan Williams is a senior research fellow at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Her previous books include Colour Bar, adapted into major film A United Kingdom; and Spies in the Congo and Who Killed Hammarskjöld?, both published by Hurst. The latter triggered a UN inquiry that is ongoing.

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