The Golden Thread: The Cold War and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjöld

Ravi Somaiya. Twelve, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4555-3654-2
What caused the 1961 plane crash that killed UN Secretary-General Hammarskjöld, who was attempting at the time to end a war in the Congo? Though the official accounts identified either pilot error or accident as having been responsible, investigative journalist Somaiya, a former New York Times correspondent, lays out the evidence suggesting foul play in his impressive debut. Somaiya disarms conspiracy skeptics at the outset, quoting Harry Truman, who stated two days after the crash that the Swedish diplomat “was on the point of getting something done when they killed him.” Hammarskjöld had devoted himself to peacefully resolving a conflict that began in 1960 after the resource-rich province of Katanga seceded from the Congo, leading Congolese President Patrice Lumumba to request the UN’s military assistance to reunite his country. The secretary-general was flying to attend a peace summit when his aircraft crashed. Somaiya amasses evidence indicating that the plane was shot down, including witnesses who saw and heard two planes close together, and assesses the potential culpability of a wide range of possible suspects, including Katangese mercenary forces and transnational white supremacists. Though Somaiya doesn’t claim to have solved the mystery, open-minded readers are likely to conclude that he raises questions that merit further inquiry. This is an eye-opening account that could lead to renewed public interest in this tragedy. Agent: Kristine Dahl, ICM Partners. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/11/2020
Release date: 04/07/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-8810-7
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4555-3652-8
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