A new biography of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, one of the most influential political figures in twentieth-century African history.
As the first prime minister and president of the West African state of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah helped shape the global narrative of African decolonization. After leading Ghana to independence in 1957, Nkrumah articulated a political vision that aimed to free the country and the continent—politically, socially, economically, and culturally—from the vestiges of European colonial rule, laying the groundwork for a future in which Africans had a voice as equals on the international stage.
Nkrumah spent his childhood in the maturing Gold Coast colonial state. During the interwar and wartime periods he was studying in the United States. He emerged in the postwar era as one of the foremost activists behind the 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress and the demand for an immediate end to colonial rule.
Jeffrey Ahlman’s biography plots Nkrumah’s life across several intersecting networks: colonial, postcolonial, diasporic, national, Cold War, and pan-African. In these contexts, Ahlman portrays Nkrumah not only as an influential political leader and thinker but also as a charismatic, dynamic, and complicated individual seeking to make sense of a world in transition.