Why and how one of the poorest and smallest nations of Europe still maintains ""the most primitive and the most extreme form of colonialism"" in its African possessions -- Minter documents the assistance given the 160,000 Portuguese troops in Angola, Mozambique and the Cape Verde islands by the U.S. (through NATO), France, West Germany, South Africa and, not least, Britain, the traditional protector of Portugal. The result is maintenance of an unusually brutal contract work system that forces peasants to grow cotton at well below world prices, keeps workers on grisly plantations, and provides slave labor for South African mines. Discovery of minerals and oil in Mozambique and Angola have secured the interest of foreign investors who seem inclined to maintain the status quo. In the early 1960's a guerrilla movement emerged which now occupies substantial, though outlying, sections of Portuguese territories. Minter wishes them well but describes the guerrillas vaguely and fails to explore how they can hope to defeat the weighty armament of Portugal and its allies without substantial outside aid. The book records U.S. military and diplomatic support for Portugal since World War II, and vainly searches for deeds that match State Department words in favor of colonial liberation. Anemic and at times naive, but the topic will draw interest.