Walter Rodney was an internationally renowned historian of colonialism and a leader of Black Power and Pan-African movements across the diaspora, most notably the Guyanese Working People's Alliance. His life and work brought together struggles for independence on the African continent with the strivings of the black working classes of North America and the Caribbean basin. On June the 13th, 1980, Rodney was assassinated, most likely by the then-president of Guyana. He was 38 years old.
"Appearing in 1972, HEUA was a genuine tour de force. It fused, as had never been done in a single volume before, African history in the global sense and underdevelopment theory, Marxism and black nationalism, intellectual passion and political commitment. HEUA instantly joined a select pan-Africanist canon that would be read at least as much outside as within the academy, an exclusive category that included the two texts that had greatly influenced Rodney's intellectual development, notably James's Black Jacobins and Williams's Capitalism & Slavery, along with Black Reconstruction, W. E. B. Dubois's magisterial work on the struggle for democracy in the United States during the post-Civil War, post-slavery era. HEUA, however, differed from the above-mentioned works, which were written long after the events they charted occurred. HEUA, by contrast, was more urgent and immediate, having been produced in the heat of battle, which is to say amid the ongoing struggle of Africans against capitalist and neocolonialist underdevelopment. His purpose in writing the book, Rodney explained in the Preface, was "to try and reach Africans who wish to explore further the nature of their exploitation, rather than to satisfy the `standards' set by our oppressors and their spokesmen in the academic world." - Michael West, Groundings: Development, Pan-Africanism, Critical Theory, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2018 "A masterpiece." - Andy Higginbottom, Redline "Rodney's analysis remains as relevant as it was when first published - a call to arms in the class struggle for racial equality." - LA Review of Books