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War Of Intervention In Angola, Volume 1; Angolan and Cuban Forces At War, 1975-1976

War Of Intervention In Angola, Volume 1; Angolan and Cuban Forces At War, 1975-1976

Adrien Fontanellaz and Tom Cooper
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
Adrien Fontanellaz and Tom Cooper have written War Of Intervention In Angola and I have been able to read Volume 1: Angolan and Cuban Forces At War, 1975-1976. This is part of the Africa @ War Series, published by Helion and Company.

I've been interested in the conflicts in Africa for a long time but know very little about the wars in Angola. The authors know their stuff and have put together a comprehensive guide to a complicated period in Angola. It's not just the resident factions in Angola and their own particular political and ethnic allegiances which play a part in the fighting; there are a wide range of other players. Some, such as the South Africans, the Cubans, the Portuguese (as the outgoing colonial power) and various mercenary groups, took a direct part in the fighting, whereas others, such the USA, the Soviet Union and China, sponsored various groups in a number of ways and for a whole range of reasons. The authors describe this diverse web well and do a good job in trying to make it as clear as possible.

There are a number of maps in the book and most of them are very good. They are either explaining the operational-level situation or describing the tactical events depicted in the text. What is missing is a map in the first chapter, the one detailing the various factions, where a number of ethnic groups are listed and a wide ranges of places described. A map showing all this detail would have made an otherwise excellent description so much clearer. The photographs in the book are generally interesting and help illustrate the text. They bring personalities to life and show much of the equipments used by the various factions.

One of the big problems is that this is such a complex topic (the war and who supported who being somewhat complicated) that I had to re-read paragraphs to understand what was going on. There are that many abbreviations and acronyms that it's hard to keep up at times; I wasn't able to read the book in one go (work got in the way...) so had to constantly check back with the opening chapter to remind me who was who. There is a list of abbreviations at the beginning of the book but a glossary to remind you how the groups were linked or what their politics were would have helped enormously. A technical glossary would also have been of help as a significant number of weapons systems are mentioned with very little explanation; I was able to identify a number of them but some needed checking elsewhere to get a better understanding.

After all that, I can recommend this book. You need to be interested in the wars in Africa but it does serve as a good introduction to a complex arena.
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