Intelligence in Public Media

Death in the Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba

Emmanuel Gerard and Bruce Kuklick (Harvard University Press, 2015), 276 pp., illustrations, maps.

Reviewed by Stephen R. Weissman

“For over fifty years,” this valuable study begins, “the circumstances of the assassination [of Patrice Lumumba, the charismatic, democratically-elected prime minister of the newly independent Democratic Republic of the Congo] have absorbed scholars and fascinated the general public.” (3) Coinciding with the CIA’s anti-Lumumba covert action program, the murder cast a long shadow over both the agency and American foreign policy.

In recent years, new evidence has emerged about this grisly event and those responsible for it. Of particular importance have been the gradually declassified files of the 1975–76 US Senate Church Committee’s investigation of CIA assassination plots against Lumumba, the report of a Belgian parliamentary inquiry in 2001, Congo Station Chief Larry Devlin’s 2007 memoir, and the long awaited appearance in 2013 of a “retrospective” Congo volume in the State Department’s Foreign Relations of the United States series, which contains extensive CIA operational documents from the 1960s.

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Posted: Feb 08, 2016 12:09 PM
Last Updated: Feb 08, 2016 12:09 PM