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A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique (Perspectives on Southern Africa) Paperback – February 26, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0520082663 ISBN-10: 0520082664 Edition: New Ed
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to a United Nations survey, nearly a million Mozambicans have died in the fighting between the Soviet-backed Frente de Libertacao ("Frelimo") and the South African-sponsored Resistancia Nacional ("Renamo"). Some three million have been driven from their homes, while food shortages are becoming acute countrywide. This engrossing, sensitive account by the author of Dateline Soweto: Travels with Black African Reporters details the results of a savage war that began in 1975, a year after Mozambique gained independence from Portugal. Finnegan describes the distintegration of the national economy ("Money means little because there's nothing to buy") and the near destruction of the country's transportation and communications systems. He introduces us to Mozambicans who reveal how the war has affected their lives. The book, portions of which originally appeared in the New Yorker , is a small classic about anarchy and the difficulties of nation building in postcolonial Africa.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Among Africa's suffering is the little- known war in Mozambique, now in its second decade. Finnegan traveled through the country in 1988 to assess the impact of a war waged by guerrillas who are armed and often directed by South Africa. He tells a compelling story of rural misery caused by the war, which in turn offers a fertile ground for its continuation. Finnegan's narrative includes historical background and critical analysis of the Mozambique government whose policies have not created an inclusive framework for the nation. Finnegan is drawn to the conclusion that Mozambique's peasants long have been denied the fruits of peace: first under centuries of Portuguese colonialism; and now as they are exposed to the current war that is destroying their future. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries of all sizes.
- Bill Rau, Takoma Park, Md.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Perspectives on Southern Africa (Book 47)
  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (February 26, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520082664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520082663
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,016,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Helen L. Smits on October 31, 2001
This is a lively and well written book which deals with the period of civil war in Mozambique. It was completed and published just before the conclusion of a successful peace process and so provides a particularly clear and powerful view of recent history.It is based on the author's travels within country during the war period and includes extensive interviews. The people he talked and worked with emerge as very vivid and lively characters. The support of the rebels by Rhodesia and South Africa, and the reasons for that support, are well described. A must read for anyone going to work in Mz, strongly recommended for the serious traveler as well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Fabio on December 12, 2008
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The book`s main claim to relevance is the fact that the author travelled inside Mozambique during the war, getting a firsthand perspective on the suffering of the locals. That aspect of the book is compelling and extremely relevant, since there are very few written testimonies of how it was like during the war. The narrative is interpolated with research about the political forces and historical causes of the conflict. Most of the political part is composed of the scant facts we have about the war, told with a slight bias.

The fact that the two are blended, instead of placed in separated parts, makes less obvious the fact that they do not set light on each other very much. One part of reconstructing a major war is tracing the connection between the larger forces - in this case, South Africa`s role, the RENAMO leadership, the communist and anticommunist propaganda - and the battles seen from a close distance - the disruption of life, famine and terror caused by the guerrillas. A lot about the war in Mozambique is unknown and, or at least, unreported. We don`t know who in the South African Government was involved with RENAMO after the Nkomati accords, nor the number of Renamo victims, nor how many people were in concentration camps. The author`s field work, despite including some interviews with leaderships on both sides, adds little to the general picture. Furthermore, not much light is set about obscure aspects that should be cleared precisely by the kind of in loco studies this book provides, such as the different motivations and possible independence of the guerrilla groups. We don`t know the chain of command of the bandidos, and not very much about the foot soldiers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Romano on January 29, 2009
I was born and lived in Moçambique for over 25 years .
This book has a lot of interesting information but some of the facts are distorted by interviews to some of the people envolved . I found this "normal" in many books and TV as reporters are limited to some parts of the population and their "under influence" oppinnions . There are also some errors on personal information about influent Mozambique politicians .Some of the info on colonial behaviour and facts is not correct and certainly received from the "wrong" sources .
In general , is an interesting book , but to be read with some reserves .
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A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique (Perspectives on Southern Africa)
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