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The classic work of political, economic, and historical analysis, powerfully introduced by Angela Davis
In his short life, the Guyanese intellectual Walter Rodney emerged as one of the leading thinkers and activists of the anticolonial revolution, leading movements in North America, South America, the African continent, and the Caribbean. In each locale, Rodney found himself a lightning rod for working class Black Power. His deportation catalyzed 20th century Jamaica's most significant rebellion, the 1968 Rodney riots, and his scholarship trained a generation how to think politics at an international scale. In 1980, shortly after founding of the Working People's Alliance in Guyana, the 38-year-old Rodney would be assassinated.
In his magnum opus, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Rodney incisively argues that grasping "the great divergence" between the west and the rest can only be explained as the exploitation of the latter by the former. This meticulously researched analysis of the abiding repercussions of European colonialism on the continent of Africa has not only informed decades of scholarship and activism, it remains an indispensable study for grasping global inequality today.
About the Author
Walter Rodney was an internationally renowned historian of colonialism and a leader of Black Power and Pan-African movements across the diaspora, most notably the Guyanese Working People's Alliance. His life and work brought together struggles for independence on the African continent with the strivings of the black working classes of North America and the Caribbean basin. On June the 13th, 1980, Rodney was assassinated, most likely by the then-president of Guyana. He was 38 years old.
"Walter Rodney's magisterial opus is recognized globally as a landmark in African studies, not to mention the history of colonialism and imperialism. Beautifully written and expertly argued, it is that rare book that can be called a classic. It belongs on every bookshelf."
—Gerald Horne, historian and author of The Counter-Revolution of 1776 and Confronting Black Jacobins
"This book is a legendary classic that galvanized freedom fighters around the world."
—Cornel West, philosopher, author, critic, and activist
"Walter Rodney was a pioneering scholar who provided new answers to old questions and posed new questions in relation to the study of Africa."
—Professor Winston McGowan
"This classic work of black political thought, political economy, and Africa history inspired scholars and political activists in the struggle against colonialism and its misrepresentations of the past. I applaud this reissue, which should bring Rodney's prescient analysis to a new generation struggling from below, in whose hands, he would have reminded us, is no less than the future of humankind."
—Lewis R. Gordon, Author of An Introduction to Africana Philosophy
"“Appearing in 1972, HEUA was a genuine tour de force. It fused, as had never been done in a single volume before, African history in the global sense and underdevelopment theory, Marxism and black nationalism, intellectual passion and political commitment. HEUA instantly joined a select pan-Africanist canon that would be read at least as much outside as within the academy, an exclusive category that included the two texts that had greatly influenced Rodney’s intellectual development, notably James’s Black Jacobins and Williams’s Capitalism & Slavery, along with Black Reconstruction, W. E. B. Dubois’s magisterial work on the struggle for democracy in the United States during the post-Civil War, post-slavery era. HEUA, however, differed from the above-mentioned works, which were written long after the events they charted occurred. HEUA, by contrast, was more urgent and immediate, having been produced in the heat of battle, which is to say amid the ongoing struggle of Africans against capitalist and neocolonialist underdevelopment. His purpose in writing the book, Rodney explained in the Preface, was “to try and reach Africans who wish to explore further the nature of their exploitation, rather than to satisfy the ‘standards’ set by our oppressors and their spokesmen in the academic world.”"
—Michael West, Groundings: Development, Pan-Africanism, Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2018
—Andy Higginbottom, Redline
"Rodney’s analysis remains as relevant as it was when first published — a call to arms in the class struggle for racial equality."
—LA Review of Books
"This groundbreaking literary powerhouse performed a vital function in resistance to institutional racism."
—Paul Boateng, Guardian