n Historia - Meritorious account of war now dated
Portugal's War in Angola, 1961-1974, W.S. van der Waals : book review

Volume 56, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



The book under review is only concerned with the war that Portugal fought in Angola from 1961 to 1974. It provides a relatively well-written and well-ordered politico-military account of the origins of the conflict, of the outbreak of the war in 1961 and then of the ways in which the Portuguese dealt with northern Angola, reducing it to what the author calls a "human desert" (p 97), of the relatively low-intensity war from 1962 to 1966, of the MPLA's campaign in eastern Angola from 1967 and of how the Portuguese again were able to counter this in the years that followed. Only when he comes to the background to the coup in Portugal in 1974 does Van der Waals spend any space relating what was happening in Angola to the wars that Portugal was also fighting elsewhere in Africa. He then suggests that it was what happened in Guinea-Bissau that was mainly responsible for the Portuguese withdrawing from their African possessions.

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