Basil Davidson (born
9 November 1914 in
Bristol, England) is an
acclaimed British historian, writer and Africanist, particularly knowledgeable on the
subject of Portuguese Africa
prior to the 1974 Carnation
He has written several books on the current plight of Africa.
Colonialism and the rise of African emancipation movements have
been central themes of his work.
He is an
Honorary Fellow of the London School of
Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
From 1939, Davidson was a reporter for the London "Economist
" in Paris, France. From December 1939, he
was a Secret Intelligence Service (SIS)/MI-6 D Section
(sabotage) officer sent to Budapest (see Special Operations Europe,
chapter 3) to establish a news service as cover.
1941, with the Nazi invasion, he fled to Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
In May, he was captured by
Italian forces and was later released as part of a prisoner
exchange. From late 1942 to mid-1943, he was chief of the Special Operations Executive
(SOE) Yugoslav Section in Cairo, Egypt, where he was James Klugmann
's supervisor. From January 1945 he
was liaison officer with partisans in Liguria, Italy.
After the war, he was Paris correspondent for "The Times
" ,"New Statesman
", and the
Since 1951, he became a well known authority on African history, an
unfashionable subject in the 1950s. His writings have emphasised
the pre-colonial achievements of Africans, the disastrous effects
of the Atlantic Slave Trade, the further damage inflicted on Africa
by European colonialism and the baleful effects of the Nation State
Davidson's works are required reading in many British universities.
He is globally recognized as an expert on African History.
He currently lives in Staffordshire.
Davidson's book "The Lost Cities of Africa" won him the 1960
Anisfield-Wolf Award, for the best book that dealt with racial
problems in creative literature. His work on African history won
the 1970 Gold Medal from Haile
. In 1976, he won the Medalha
. He received honorary degrees from the
University of Great
Britain in 1980, and the University of Edinburgh in
For his film series "Africa
," he won the Gold Award, from the
International Film and Television Festival of New York in 1984. He
has won various other awards.
- Let Freedom Come: Africa in Modern History
- The Black Man's Burden: Africa and the Curse of the
- A History of Africa
- Lost Cities of Africa
- African Kingdoms
- African Civilization Revisited: From Antiquity to Modern
- Old Africa Rediscovered
- Black Mother
- Africa in History
- The Africans
- The Liberation of Guine
- In The Eye of the Storm: Angola's People
- Africa in Modern History
- Partisan Picture
- Golden Horn (novel)
- Special Operations Europe: Scenes From the Anti-Nazi
- Black Star
- West Africa Before the Colonial Era