IN THE EYE OF THE STORM: Angola's People by Basil Davidson

IN THE EYE OF THE STORM: Angola's People

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This history of Angola begins with an impressionistic description of days the author spent in the field with nationalist guerrillas. There is no secret about where Davidson's loyalties lie, but he has written an objective, balanced book. There is a brief treatment of Angolan history before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century and a more extended discussion of Portuguese colonization and the transition from slavery to forced or ""contract"" labor, which proved no change at all. But the emphasis is on modern Angolan politics whose resistance to Portuguese authority began a century ago and culminated in a strong nationalist movement in the 1960's, as the reaction to a colonialism which created large areas of native poverty interspersed with patches of conspicuous wealth. The problem now facing Angola is to break down the elitist colonial structure and create a system that provides for over-all participation in national life. The lessons of emergent countries in Latin. America and elsewhere in Africa suggest to Davidson that the transition cannot be made within the capitalist framework: ""The case for noncapitalist policies, eventually for socialist policies, rests not on any doctrinaire or sentimental preference, but on all the facts that matter."" Revolution not reform is required; in Angola the revolution has begun. His position may be controversial, but Davidson's sympathetic study of Angola offers a responsible analysis of the problems confronting underdeveloped countries on the verge of liberation.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday