Forbes Burnham : the Life and Times of the Comrade Leader

Forbes Burnham : the Life and Times of the Comrade Leader

Publication Date

Winter 1-12-2024


It is virtually impossible to understand the history of modern Guyana without understanding the role played by Forbes Burnham. As premier of British Guiana, he led the country to independence in 1966 and spent two decades as its head of state until his death in 1985. An intensely charismatic politician, Burnham helped steer a new course for the former colony, but he was also a quintessential strongman leader, venerated by some of his citizens yet feared and despised by others.

Forbes Burnham: The Life and Times of the Comrade Leader is the first political biography of this complex and influential figure. It charts how the political party he founded, the People’s National Congress, combined nationalist rhetoric, socialist policies, and Pan-Africanist philosophies. It also explores how, in a country already deeply divided between the descendants of African slaves and Indian indentured servants, Burnham consolidated political power by intensifying ethnic polarizations. Drawing from historical archives as well as new interviews with the people who knew Burnham best, sociologist Linden F. Lewis examines how his dictatorial tendencies coexisted with his progressive convictions. Forbes Burnham is a compelling study of the nature of postcolonial leadership and its pitfalls. --




Forbes Burnham, Guyana, Politics, Government, History, Great Britain, Politicians, Foreign Relations, Biography


History | Military History | Political History


Rutgers University Press


New Brunswick, New Jersey


Sociology & Anthropology


Forbes Burnham : the Life and Times of the Comrade Leader