New Books Network

Alanna O’Malley

The Diplomacy of Decolonisation

America, Britain, and the United Nations during the Congo Crisis, 1960-1964

Manchester University Press 2020

New Books in African StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network June 26, 2020 Dexter Fergie

In the summer of 1960, the Republic of the Congo won its independence from Belgium. Only one week later, however, Belgium had already dispatched...

In the summer of 1960, the Republic of the Congo won its independence from Belgium. Only one week later, however, Belgium had already dispatched paratroopers into the country and the Congolese government was appealing to the United Nations to intervene and protect Congolese sovereignty. The ensuing crisis, as Alanna O’Malley writes in her deeply researched and important book, The Diplomacy of Decolonisation: America, Britain, and the United Nations during the Congo Crisis, 1960-1964 (Manchester University Press, 2020) “catapulted the Congo into the international consciousness.”

The Diplomacy of Decolonisation examines the global contours of the Congo crisis, which fragmented the newly independent Republic of the Congo and rocked the international order in the early 1960s. It even led the United Nations, for the first time ever, to dispatch peacekeepers to protect the sovereignty of one of its member states against secessionists. O’Malley guides readers through this complicated story. She charts the sprawling geography of the crisis, pulling readers through foreign capitals, the United Nations, and the Congo itself. And she shows how the crisis transformed the Cold War and the politics of decolonization.


Dexter Fergie is a PhD student of US and global history at Northwestern University. He is currently researching the 20th century geopolitical history of information and communications networks. He can be reached by email at dexter.fergie@u.northwestern.edu or on Twitter @DexterFergie.