Petterson, a U.S. career service officer, takes the reader on a journey of cold war conflict, independence struggle, and revolution. His initial foreign post assignment was Zanzibar, an island nation off the east coast of Africa, in the period from 1964-1966, when the nation was transforming itself from British colonial status. Yet for the majority of Zanzibaris of black African descent, independence apparently had little significance. The ruling elite was predominantly Arab, with East Asians playing a substantial if not dominant commercial role. The resulting revolution, bloody and efficient, manifested without anticipation by Britain or the U.S. Petterson's baptism in the U.S. diplomatic corps initially thrust him into the temporary role of sole representative at the American consulate during the revolutionary period and once again some three years later when his supervisor was forced off the island, suspected of espionage. It was the interim period that proves a rich insight into the super power cold war conflict and the tensions associated with maintaining a posture of nonalliance during a period of rising African nationalism. Vernon FordCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From Library Journal
Now a seasoned Foreign Service officer, Petterson (Inside Sudan) began his career in Zanzibar from 1963 to 1965. During this extremely tumultuous time the island became independent of Great Britain, experienced a coup d'etat, undertook a Marxist path, switched to the nonaligned movement, expelled two U.S. Chiefs of Mission, agreed to unite with Tanganyika, and worked to find its proper place in the balance of world powers. Recent memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Kennedy assassination made Washington officials very worried about rumors of Cuba-trained agents behind the revolution and new government. During part of the early 1964 revolution, the author was the only American diplomat to remain on post, representing the concerns of Washington to the competing factions and looking after property, including a NASA tracking station, left empty when Americans were evacuated. The literature on this revolution is quite sparse; this eyewitness account will add to understanding it. The lively and engaging writing style holds the reader's interest throughout and conveys much of the uncertain nature of diplomacy at a remote post during turbulent times. Recommended for most collections. Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
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