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Tears, Fire, and Blood

The United States and the Decolonization of Africa

By James H. Meriwether

Tears, Fire, and Blood

Approx. 320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 4 maps

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6422-4
    Published: October 2021
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6421-7
    Published: October 2021

Paperback Available October 2021, but pre-order your copy today!

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In the mid-twentieth century, decolonization fundamentally changed foreign relations as it converged with Black and Brown freedom movements, the establishment of the United Nations and NATO, an exploding Cold War, and a burgeoning world human rights movement. Dramatic events swept through Africa at a furious pace, with fifty nations gaining independence in roughly fifty years, as the struggle against colonial rule fundamentally reshaped the world and the lives of the majority of the world's population. Meanwhile, the United States emerged as the most powerful and influential nation in the world, with the ability—politically, economically, militarily, and morally—to help or hinder the transformation of the African continent.   

Tears, Fire, and Blood offers a sweeping history of how the United States responded to decolonization in Africa. James H. Meriwether explores how Washington, grappling with national security interests and racial prejudices, veered between strengthening African nationalist movements seeking majority rule and independence and bolstering anticommunist European allies seeking to maintain white rule. Events in Africa helped propel the Black freedom struggle around the world and ultimately forced the United States to confront its support for national ideals abroad as it fought over how to achieve equality at home.

About the Author

James H. Meriwether is professor of history at California State University, Channel Islands, and author of Proudly We Can Be Africans: Black Americans and Africa, 1936–1961.
For more information about James H. Meriwether, visit the Author Page.


“A sweeping narrative and explanation of how the United States, particularly the U.S. government, responded to the liberation of Africa from colonial bondage....[T]his is a big story, and well told.”—Thomas Borstelmann, author of Just Like Us: The American Struggle to Understand Foreigners