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The Assassination of Lumumba 2nd Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“De Witte has performed an important service in establishing the facts of Lumumba’s last days and Belgium’s responsibility for what happened.”—New York Review of Books
“De Witte writes without stylish frills or narrative tricks, but this is a vivid and utterly compelling account of a nation strangled at birth by the West.”—Ronan Bennett, Los Angeles Times
“De Witte’s book, politically passionate as it is, is an unignorable effort to bring the West face to face with its culpability in this entire sad and sanguinary tale.”—Richard Bernstein, New York Times
“One Belgian author has triumphed over decades of official obfuscation: Belgium did collude in Patrice Lumumba’s assassination ... It raises questions about Western policy in Africa that will reverberate for decades to come.”—Michela Wrong, Financial Times
“One should never underestimate the ruthlessness of British gentlemen cradling endangered shares.”—Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books
“Thoroughly researched, passionately written, deeply disturbing.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Whilst the battle for control over the resources of the Congo (now DR Congo) continues today this important book restores Congolese history and saves it from the official version peddled by those directly implicated in the affair.”—New Internationalist
Top Customer Reviews
Enough with the anger though as I don't want to go overboard and see it in the stark ideological terms as the author does when he says that what happened in the Congo in 1960 is a "staggering example of what the Western ruling classes are capable of when their vital interests are threatened." That is too trite an answer for the circumstances surrounding Lumumba's assassination and way too simple an analysis of the complex situation in the Congo at the time of independence.
THE ASSASSINATION OF LUMUMBA looks at a tiny fraction of Congo's history. The book is almost entirely confined to the period from June 30th, 1960 (when the country became independent from Belgium) to January 17th, 1961, when Lumumba and two of his former ministers of government were executed in the breakaway province of Katanga. During that period the country went through crisis, with Belgium, France, the US, the USSR and the UN all wanting to have a say. There were at least three substantive leaders of the Congolese: Lumumba as prime minister, Joseph Kasavubu the president, and the usurper Joseph Mobuto (who after all was said and done emerged in 1965 as the dictator Mobuto Sese Seko).Read more ›
De Witte depicts Lumumba as a fierce nationalist but denies that he was left-leaning. That claim may have to be investigated further. Lumumba did have strong connections to Russia and surely there is a reason why the university in Moscow for foreign students is named "Lumumba University". There is no doubt, though, that he presented himself as a socialist.
The author repeatedly mentions that Lumumba's rise to the presidency of the Congo was the story of a death foretold. Western governments repeatedly sais that Lumumba had to be "eliminated". But the interpretation was left open: did they mean "physically" or "politically"? It is interesting to note that it took them almost seven months to kill him. An assassin hired by the Belgians was called back. The CIA delivered a box of poison that was never used. Why this delay, when an invented illness would have been faster and politically more acceptable?
De Wittte also claims that Lumumba had to fail with his government because he lacked a functioning army and police force to back him up. What he never examines, unfortunately, is the fact that Belgium withdrew its administrative apparatus upon independence. And they had never trained any natives to be administrators. On July 1, 1960, The Congo had only a handful native lawyers, physicians, or even people with a higher education. Under those conditions you cannot run a country (you have to know where the telephones are).
Because of this book, Belgium officially apologized to the Congo ... Mr. de Witte could hardly wish for a better acknowledgement of his work.
The connivance of a whole set of opportunists in the Congo and some players in the international arena would be shocking for a person otherwise unfamiliar with this period. This book is proof that Lumumba's life could have been saved but it was not politically expedient to do so. Most of all, the author has led to the questioning of the assumption that the U.N. is an enduring friend of developing countries.
The author deserves unqualified credit for painstakingly seeking the facts through which to support the central thesis that the assassination was planned even if not very neatly executed.While the author's work is certainly not the last word on this issue, it has helped to put to death the lies that were advanced in the period following the assassination. Compared to other publications on the subject, I consider this a definitive text and perhaps an indispensable book in the history section of all college and public libraries.
The author is genuinely moved to expose the great injustice that was perpetrated against Lumumba, Mpolo and Okito and by extension to the Congolese people. It is not difficult to understand how the series of events led to the increased militarisation of Congolese politics. Belgium and its monarchy owes the Congolese people an apology.
While Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rambling editorial style. Great if you already know the story.Published 8 months ago by Michael E Sweeney
Mr De Witte's excellent work on the Belgium-backed assassination of Lumumba provides, in my opinion, the definitive accounting of that event. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Dr. Tom's Reviews
From the moment that Patrice Lumumba gave an unscheduled speech telling the Belgian monarch and the world the simple truth that everyone knew (including Mark Twain and Joseph... Read morePublished on November 3, 2013 by Marc Lichtman
Patrice Lumumba was a charismatic, commanding man with a revolutionary aura about him, cut down before he was able to exercise power long enough for anybody to be sure how he would... Read morePublished on October 29, 2013 by ewaffle
The Assasination of Lumumba by Ludo de Witte strikes me as a very one-sided presentation to the historical upheaval experienced by Congo in the first months following its... Read morePublished on July 7, 2012 by Congolese by Birth
The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba reveals the complicity of Belgium and the US in his murder, and the resulting tragedy. Read morePublished on January 29, 2011 by Vincent Nyakairu
Finally some honest answers as to what happened to Patrice Lumumba. An excellent commentary on neo-colonialism in the Congo.Published on November 10, 2009 by Liza L
Patrice Lumumba was a symbol for all that is despised by the Imperialistic West. A nation that was so rich with resources that the Congo couldn't POSSIBLY be left to its own... Read morePublished on October 16, 2009 by Tim