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The Abongo Abroad
Military-Sponsored Travel in Ghana, the United States, and the World, 1959-1992

Author(s): John V. Clune

Blending African social history with US foreign relations, John V. Clune documents how ordinary people experienced a major aspect of Cold War diplomacy. The book describes how military-sponsored international travel, especially military training abroad and United Nations peacekeeping deployments in the Sinai and Lebanon, altered Ghanaian service members and their families during the three decades after independence in 1957. Military assistance to Ghana included sponsoring training and education in the United States, and American policymakers imagined that national modernization would result from the personal relationships Ghanaian service members and their families would forge. As an act of faith, American military assistance policy with Ghana remained remarkably consistent despite little evidence that military education and training in the United States produced any measurable results.

Merging newly discovered documents from Ghana's armed forces and declassified sources on American military assistance to Africa, this work argues that military-sponsored travel made individual Ghanaians' outlooks on the world more international, just as military assistance planners hoped they would, but the Ghanaian state struggled to turn that new identity into political or economic progress.

Biography of Author(s)

John V. Clune is Assistant Professor of History at the United States Air Force Academy.


  • "John Clune's masterful The Abongo Abroad productively and provocatively pushes the growing literature on African military institutions into the post-colonial era. Focusing on Ghanian soldiers and their families, Clune convincingly argues that peace-keeping operations, international military educational exchange programs, and other 'modernizing' nation-building initiatives fostered a new military internationalism that transcended the limits of the African nation state. This fresh and innovative social history will interest Africanists of all disciplines and scholars of American foreign relations and international peace and security."
    Timothy H. Parsons, author of The African Rank-and-File and The 1964 Army Mutinies and the Making of Modern East Africa
  • "Clune enlivens his analysis with dry wit . . . His book raises issues relevant beyond Ghana; its significance extends past its formal subject. Recommended."