JFK: Ordeal in Africa

In This Review

JFK: Ordeal in Africa

By Richard D. Mahoney
Oxford, 1983
338 pp. $17.95
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John Kennedy entered the White House with a deserved reputation as a supporter of national independence for colonial peoples in Africa. In office he had to adjust his ideals to turbulent and often bloody reality in the Congo, Ghana, and Angola (the three areas which are the subject of this outstanding book), and to deep disagreements within his own Administration between conservative Europeanists and pro-African, pro-United Nations liberals. He sought to advance American interests in the cold war by keeping the cold war out of Africa-an objective fraught with internal contradictions. Although at times he seemed ready to join the anti-liberal camp, he remained to the end quite true to his ideals. This well-written and well-researched book is based largely on unpublished papers from the Kennedy Administration, including transcripts of telephone conversations, and on extensive interviews.

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