56 minutes | Sep 29, 2021

Antonio Tomas, "Amlicar Cabral: The Life of a Reluctant Nationalist" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Amilcar Cabral was one of the most significant African nationalists of his generation. Born in the Cape Verde Islands, Cabral led the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) in its fight against Portuguese rule. In addition to helping found the party and then lead it, he also became a leading theoretician of revolutionary struggle and Marxism. Cabral shaped the larger independence struggle until his assassination in 1973, and though he did not live to see the independence of Cape Verde or Guinea Bissau, he remains an important source of inspiration for many revolutionaries.

Despite this, biographies and studies of Cabral have been relatively sparse. What English-language literature does exist on Cabral is somewhat dated. Dr. António Tomás’ Amílcar Cabral: The Life of a Reluctant Nationalist (Oxford UP, 2020) provides a fresh look at Cabral. Through archival research and a reexamination of Cabral’s own writings, Tomás sketches the development of Cabral’s nationalism and ideology from his early childhood and his studies in Portugal. Not only does this biography make clear the importance of Cabral’s life, but it sheds valuable light on the processes of decolonization and the complexities embedded within the liberation movements.

Zeb Larson is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a PhD in History. His research deals with the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail to zeb.larson@gmail.com.

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