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The United States and Decolonization in West Africa, 1950-1960


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As an investigation of America's response to the decolonization process in West Africa, The United States and Decolonization in West Africa, 1950-60 fills several important gaps. The history of America's involvement in Africa remains understudied. This book focuses on a neglected decade when the "wind of change" swept across Africa. Critical of the traditional "nationalist" interpretation of the decolonization process in Africa, the author begins his book by placing the transition of British and French West African territories to statehood with a neocolonialist framework. In doing so, he abandons the conventional definitions and usages of "independence" and "decolonization", and makes a compelling case that these are two related but different phenomena. Nwaubani argues that the United States was not a catalyst in the transition process in West Africa, but rather acted in a neocolonialist fashion itself. He also gives a nuanced appraisal of the Cold War, demonstrating that it was not as important as popularly believed in determining US behavior in Africa.
The primary focus of the book is on West Africa, with case studies focusing on the Ewe, Ghana [including the Volta dam project], and Guinea. But the broad issues discussed are framed in the larger context of sub-Saharan Africa, and against the backdrop of the larger debates about the nature of post-1945 United States diplomacy.

Ebere Nwaubani is a member of the History Department, University of Colorado at Boulder.


Well-written and nuanced evaluation of US policy toward Africa. CHOICE

Nwaubani has produced an excellent study on a neglected aspect of recent African international relations and history that offers new intrepretations and challenges to established ideas about US interests and actions toward the continent. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

This is a clearly argued book with considerable interest and some surprising coverage, given the title, which adds to the debate on Cold War, neo-colonialism and the ending of colonial rule. AFRICAN HISTORY, 2003, Volume 44

This remains a stimulating and persuasive work, that is clinically constructed, admirably clear and well argued, and that is well sustained by documentary analysis. Nwaubani writes lucidly and has a sharp eye for the telling turn of phrase that illuminates a complex issue. AFRICAN AFFAIRS, 2003


First Published: 15 Jan 2001
13 Digit ISBN: 9781580460767
Pages: 360
Size: 9 x 6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: University of Rochester Press
BIC Class: GTB

Details updated on 04 Oct 2015


  • 1  Decolonization in West Africa
  • 2  The Archaeology of Policy
  • 3  Truman's Dual Mandate
  • 4  Minimalism as Policy
  • 5  Ghana: Honeymoon and Estrangement
  • 6  The Political Economy of the Volta Project
  • 7  Guinea: The Weight of Residual Interests
  • 8  Summing Up

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