No Fist Is Big Enough to Hide the Sky

The Liberation of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, 1963-74

Basil Davidson
With Forewords by Zachary Mampilly and Amilcar Cabral and a Preface by Aristides Pereira

New Edition


Basil Davidson's unsurpassed study of the struggle against colonial rule in Gunea-Bissau and Cape Verde

No Fist Is Big Enough to Hide the Sky stands as a key text in the history of the eleven-year struggle against Portuguese rule in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. Though perhaps less well known than the struggles in Angola and Mozambique, the liberation war waged by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) easily ranks alongside those conflicts as an example of an African independence movement triumphing against overwhelming odds.

Basil Davidson, a leading authority on Portuguese Africa who witnessed many of these events first hand, draws on his own extensive experience in the country as well as the PAIGC archives to provide a detailed and rigorous analysis of the conflict. The book also provides one of the earliest accounts of the assassination of the PAIGC’s founder, Amilcar Cabral, and documents the movement’s remarkable success in recovering from the death of its leader and in eventually attaining independence. Featuring a preface by Cape Verde’s first president, Aristides Pereira, and a foreword by Cabral himself, No Fist is Big Enough to Hide the Sky remains an invaluable resource for the study both of the region and of African liberation struggles as a whole.

Author Bio

Basil Davidson ranks as one of the most remarkable Africanist historians of his generation. Born in Bristol in 1914, he worked as a journalist for the Times, the New Statesman and other publications, as well as serving in the Second World War as an intelligence officer in Nazi-occupied Europe. After the war, he went on to become a leading authority on Portuguese Africa, and was one of the first scholars to emphasize the pre-colonial achievements of African civilizations, as well the damaging effects wreaked on the continent by colonialism. He was also a passionate advocate for contemporary anti-colonial struggles, and witnessed many of these struggles first hand. Among his many notable books are The African Genius (1969) and The Black Man's Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State (1992). He died in 2010.

Zachariah Mampilly is the director of Africana Studies and an associate professor of political science and international studies at Vassar College. He is the author of Rebel Rulers: Insurgent Governance and Civilian Life during War (2011) and (with Adam Branch) Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change (Zed 2015).

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Zachariah Mampilly
  • Author's Note to the 1981 Edition
  • Preface by Aristides Pereira
  • Foreword by Amilcar Cabral
  • 1. Why?
  • 2. How? With Whom?
  • 3. Under What Precise Conditions?
  • 4. By What Political Principles and Organization?
  • 5. By What Military Methods?
  • 6. Involving What Obligations?
  • 7. Towards What Future?
  • 8. With What Wider Meaning?
  • 9. Carrying Through: 1968–72
  • 10. Meeting the Bitterest Loss: 1973
  • 11. The End of Colonial Rule
  • 12. Building and Rebuilding
  • Note on Further Reading in English


‘Possesses many of the strengths of Davidson’s best work … a fascinating trove for scholars interested in the internal structure and behaviour of one of the most novel and inclusive armed groups of all time.’
Zachariah Mampilly, from the Foreword

‘The author has sought to interpret the realities of our life and struggle in the light of what he saw and lived through with us, as well as of a deep knowledge of African history and an awareness of what is essential in the history of today … we are grateful to him.’
Amilcar Cabral, from the Preface


Publication Date: 15 February 2017
208 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback 2nd Edition: 9781783605644
Hardback 2nd Edition: 9781786990662
eBook ePub 2nd Edition: 9781783609994
eBook PDF 2nd Edition: 9781783605620
eBook Kindle 2nd Edition: 9781783605637

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