"This history of five African Portuguese—speaking countries since they gained independence from Portugal in 1974—75 is a challenge for two major reasons. First, the countries defy easy comparison, being different in size, geography, and socioeconomic profile. Second, they frequently have more in common with their regional neighbors than with one another. This volume slices into the project from two angles. In part 1, Chabal (Univ. of London) writes three thematic chapters that analyze what these countries have in common and how they differ from and are similar to the rest of Africa. They cover the end of empire (wars and decolonization), the construction of the nation—state (nationalism, power relationships, socialism and international affairs), and the limits of nationhood (partisan and political rivalries). These three chapters are concise, well organized, balanced, perceptive, critical, and insightful. Part 2 provides five country chapters, each by a different scholar of the area. The chapters on Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea—Bissau are well written, especially on the wars, politics, and the economy. Less successful are the two chapters on Cape Verde and São (Sao) Tomé (Tome) e Príncipe (Principe), which tend to lack critical analysis and be too dependent on official reports and data sources. A useful bibliography is organized by country. Upper—division undergraduates and above." —K. W. Grundy, Case Western Reserve University, 2003feb CHOICE
(K. W. Grundy, Case Western Reserve University, 2003feb CHOICE)
"Bringing a sophisticated analytical perspective to his introduction, Chabal measures each postcolonial government against the now—fashionable neopatrimonial paradigm (boss—run regimes built on patronage), makes allowances for the varying political skills of nationalist leaders, considers the effects of anticolonial wars in three of the five countries, and looks at the failure of socialist experiments in each. This work fills an important gap." —Foreign Affairs
About the Author
Patrick Chabal is Professor of Lusophone African Studies, University of London, and Head of the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at King’s College, London. He is co-author (with Jean-Pascal Daloz) of Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument (Indiana University Press).