David Caute

The Wreck of the Albertina

Who Killed Hammarskjöld? The UN, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa


Hurst 306pp £20 order from our bookshop

In June 1961 the late Conor Cruise O’Brien was sent by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld as his personal representative to the Congo’s mineral-rich province of Katanga, where Moïse Tshombe had declared secession, backed by Belgian forces and the mining companies headed by the Union Minière. Five years later I went to work for Cruise O’Brien at New York University, where he had become Albert Schweitzer Professor, and got to know this brilliant, witty, subversive Irish intellectual, whose appetite for conspiracy theory had been aroused by the Warren Report on the assassination of John F Kennedy. The American president had clearly been killed by gunfire – but by whom? According to the Warren investigation, it was done by a single assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. Conor Cruise O’Brien, already the author of To Katanga and Back, a book rich in conspiracies brilliantly unravelled, was not to be taken in. (His surname is in fact Cruise O’Brien, although most writers, including Susan Williams, the author of Who Killed Hammarskjöld?, call him O’Brien – indeed he appears thus in Hammarskjöld’s diaries.) 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Whom did Picasso label a 'bristly pig'? Read Rosalind P Blakesley's review of The Collector by Natalya Semenova to… ,
    • Alexandra Gajda on Anna Beer's new biography, Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh ,
    • Mark Lawson reviews @jonathancoe's Middle England - The Rotters' Club for our Brexit age. ,
    • 'Behind every book that is published lies ... a haunted landscape, populated by the ghosts of things written and ex… ,
    • 'We once more live in a great age of dragon invention' Here's Tom Shippey on Martin Arnold's The Dragon ,
    • RT : Man at the q&a part of the book panel: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… ,
    • Here's @epkaufm's Whiteshift, reviewed in this month's magazine by ,