A political biography and military history of the leader of UNITA one of the warring factions in the decade-old guerrilla...

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JONAS SAVIMBI: A Key to Africa

A political biography and military history of the leader of UNITA one of the warring factions in the decade-old guerrilla war in Angola. Bridgland is a former Reuters correspondent in Central Africa. In this book, he argues that Savimbi holds the key to peace in that torn land, twice the size of France, which currently is led by a communist regime. The trouble is, the subject matter is so confusing to Western readers that ideological lines become fuzzy after only several pages. Bridgland seems to believe in the alphabet soup theory of writing--baffle the readers with acronyms--and the tribes, states, and countries in the area change their names more often than FM rock-music stations. In Angola's case, the three factions struggling for control were the FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola), UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), and the current controller of the country, the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola). If the tags seem innocuous enough, they mask a diversity of ideologies, rampant among them a militant Marxism-Leninism. As if this wasn't confusing enough, Savimbi himself was trained by the legions of Mao Zedong and early on professed an allegiance to Mao's philosophy. Yet, he is championed by such bastions of the old order as Ronald Reagan and Jeanne Kirkpatrick (possibly the only case extant of Reagan supporting a Maoist!). Savimbi, though, now comes across as the advocate of a free, independent, and democratic Angola. Unfortunately, Bridgland writes in an archly partisan manner that makes this book a hack political broadsheet. its saving grace is in presenting a wealth of facts on Savimbi which will be welcome by those who subscribe to the ""great man"" theory of history. Otherwise, one is better served by other treatments, such as John Stock-well's In Search of Enemies or Wolfers and Bergerols' Angola in the Front Line.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1986

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Paragon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1986