The eighth and final volume of The Cambridge History of Africa covers the period 1940-75. It begins with a discussion of the role of the Second World War in the political decolonisation of Africa. Its terminal date of 1975 coincides with the retreat of Portugal, the last European colonial power in Africa, from its possessions and their accession to independence. The fifteen chapters which make up this volume examine on both a continental and regional scale the extent to which formal transfer of political power by the European colonial rulers also involved economic, social and cultural decolonisation. A major theme of the volume is the way the African successors to the colonial rulers dealt with their inheritance and how far they benefited particular economic groups and disadvantaged others. The contributors to this volume represent different disciplinary traditions and do not share a single theoretical perspective on the recent history of the continent, a subject that is still the occasion for passionate debate.