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Jacana

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The Mystery Behind Dag Hammarskjold’s Death Revealed in Who Killed Hammarskjold?

Who Killed Hammarskjöld?Given that Ndola air traffic control had seen the plane flying overhead and had granted the pilot permission to land, why did the airport manager close down the airport? Why did Lord Alport, the British High Commissioner in Salisbury (now Harare), who was at the airport, insist that the Secretary-General must have decided ‘to go elsewhere’? Why did it take until four hours after daybreak to start a search, even though local residents, policemen and soldiers reported seeing a great flash of light in the sky shortly after midnight? Why was the missing aircraft not found for a full fifteen hours, even though it was just eight miles away from the airport where it had been expected to land? What about the second plane that had been seen to follow the Secretary-General’s aircraft? Why did the survivor refer to an explosion before the crash? Why did Hammarskjöld have no burns, when the other victims were so badly charred? How did he escape the intense blaze, which destroyed 75 to 80 per cent of the fuselage?

Susan Williams has written a shocking exposé of the true story behind the death of the celebrated UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Hammarskjöld’s death. His death and that of his UN team in a plane crash in central Africa in 1961 is one of the great mysteries of the twentieth century, and one with huge political resonance.

The Rhodesian government conducted an official inquiry into Hammarskjöld’s death. But as this book will show, it was a massive cover-up that suppressed and dismissed a mass of crucial evidence, especially that of African eyewitnesses. A subsequent UN inquiry was unable to rule out foul play – but had no access to the evidence to show how and why. Now, for the first time, this story can be told. Who Killed Hammarskjold? follows the author on her intriguing and often frightening journey of research to Zambia, South Africa, the USA, Sweden, Norway, Britain, France and Belgium, where she unearthed a mass of new and hitherto secret documentary and photographic evidence.

“Lively and well written.” — Sunday Times

“Part detective, part archivist, part journalist, Williams schmoozed spies, befriended diplomats and mercenaries and won the trust of Hammarskjöld’s still grieving relatives and UN colleagues to get her tale. She unwinds each thread of the narrative with infinite patience, leading us carefully down the torturous paths of Cold War intrigue.” — Spectator

About the author

Susan Williams has published widely on Africa, decolonisation and the global power shifts of the twentieth century, receiving widespread acclaim for Colour Bar (Penguin, 2006), her book on the founding president of Botswana.

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