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Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991 (The New Cold War History) Hardcover – November 4, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A comprehensive, informative account.--Journal of Latin American Studies



An extraordinary feat of scholarship that is painstakingly researched, cogently argued, and beautifully written. . . . This remarkable book provides a unique window on the processes of decolonization and the Cold War in Southern Africa. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars, students, and libraries for years to come.--H-Diplo Roundtable Review



A multi-level analysis and international search for documentary sources woven into a detailed narrative.--Military History



A masterful scholarly inquiry.--Noam Chomsky, Truthout



Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.--Choice



Gleijeses's massively researched and provocative study of the complex relationship between Cuba, the United States, and South Africa enhances his reputation as one of the leading scholars of international relations.--Journal of American History



Provides a mirror that allows Americans, Cubans (and Russians) to see another reflection of their true self in the context of their foreign policy tussle in Africa.--Dissident Voice



Gleijeses's eminently readable work is a major contribution to the historiography of the Cold War on one of its lesser-known fronts; it is diplomatic history at its finest and at its most compelling.--International Affairs

Review

With unique access to Cuban documents, Piero Gleijeses recounts the complex story of Cuban, U.S., and South African contestation in Southern Africa from the mid 1970s to 1991 in masterly fashion. Anyone concerned with this history will now have to take account of Visions of Freedom.--Christopher Saunders, University of Cape Town

|Based on unsurpassed multi-archival research, Piero Gleijeses rewrites the international history of southern Africa in the 1970s and 1980s and sharpens our understanding of the policies of the United States and the Soviet Union. No other historian has had comparable access to Cuban documents and no scholar has written so compellingly about Castro's motives and goals. And thanks to Gleijeses, those records will now be available to others. A terrific contribution!--Melvyn P. Leffler, University of Virginia

|A deeply satisfying work. Gleijeses organizes a dazzling array of data to explain why events unfolded as they did. No one has done this better. No one has even come close.--Lars G. Schoultz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

|A remarkable achievement. Once again, Piero Gleijeses brings his impressive forensic skills and his ability to drill down into documents to see the bigger picture to offer a transnational history that never once loses its focus (as too often is the case in studies claiming to 'decenter' the Cold War). This book will force a fundamental rethinking of how we conceive of the struggle for freedom from colonial and neocolonial rule in southern Africa, and Cuba's role in helping to win it.--Greg Grandin, New York University

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Product Details

  • Series: The New Cold War History
  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; First Edition edition (November 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1469609681
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469609683
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Marc Lichtman on December 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yesterday Nelson Mandela died, and you would think from all the gushing praises that the US government had supported him from the beginning. Nothing could be further from the truth. During Mandela's first visit to the US, it was leaked that the CIA had played a role in his capture. The US considered the ANC a "Communist" and "terrorist" organization. Of course everyone they didn't like got called at least one of these things.

In this book, as in its prequel Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976, Piero Gleijeses, a professor of American foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins, discusses the opposing roles played by the US and Cuba in the battle to free Southern Africa.

This is a work of careful research, the author using archives of the US, Cuba, South Africa, and Russia, as well as interviews with and quotes from memoires of key players in these countries and others. It will be impossible to refute, although we can be sure some will try.

The US supported Portuguese colonialism until revolution in Portugal forced an end to it. Then they supported the most pro-imperialist forces in the former colonies; those willing to collaborate with the apartheid regime to see that no radical change took place. UNITA in Angola was one such movement; their atrocities were glossed over, and their South African ties downplayed. While publically taking their distance from apartheid South Africa, the US government collaborated with them against the MPLA in Angola and SWAPO in Namibia (no country in the world publically opposed independence and free elections in the South African colony).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lena on December 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book describes one of the most beautiful episodes of international assistance that a country has given to other countries in the history of mankind. Each fact and interpretation are scrupulously backed by documents and interviews with protagonists in the United States, Cuba, South Africa and other countries. It reads like a novel, fast pacing and moving, although it is more than 600 pages. It is a work that inspires hope. Lena
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jane Risker on January 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Visions of Freedom is a fascinating, important, and well-researched explanation of how the governments of Cuba, South Africa and the United States struggled to determine the course of history in southern Africa. Marc J. Lichtman's review describes its strengths well. What I can add is that Visions of Freedom is fun to read: it is lively, narrative history with colorful characters and a lot of suspense. Its research is scholarly, but it is also a real page turner.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tony Rutherford on July 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author of this book as accomplished an important milestone not generally done by political or historical writers by providing us the ( reader ) with an extraordinary well researched account of Cuba's role in blocking apartheid South Africa in its criminal thrust to colonize and dominate the people of Southern African countries - particularly in its supremely outstanding efforts in the liberation Angola and Namibia .Concomitantly, Fidel Castro's leadership in changing the course of history towards shaping independence of Southern African countries ,and defeating apartheid in South Africa - against the powerful political forces of the United States of America and the Soviet Union..
The reporting of these interchanges, diplomatic and ,political intercourse between the respective key leaders of Havana ,Moscow, Washington and Pretoria is very well documented largely from original sources - with rigorous scholarship by the author. Clearly, a book that should be a must read by policy makers and students of International affairs.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. Campbell on February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Prof. Gleijeses' tome is a masterwork of history, documenting Cuba's heroic defense of socialist Angola's quest for independence from imperialism, primarily by apartheid South Africa but also apartheid's greatest ally, the corrupt Reagan regime of the US. By providing the nuance and detail necessary to paint this picture of selfless devotion to national liberation, Gleijeses' work showed why Castro will be remembered as one of the greatest men in history. Flawed, yes, certainly, as are all great men (or do all you wide eyed JFK devotees think HE was a saint?) But Castro's determination to not only free Angola but also Namibia and ultimately South Africa from the grip of the racist South Afrikaaners surely must rank as one of the greatest feats by a Third World nation. And make no mistake about this episode; it was a categoric defeat for the Reaganauts, whose determination to defeat the Marxist MPLA, protect South African apartheid and avoid a truly independent Namibia were all frustrated.
And thank you, professor, for showing once and for all that the propaganda by the American and Afrikaaner apologists about the battle of Cuito Cuinavale is just so much moonshine and hooh hah. The Cubans kicked white man tail and paved the way for South Africa's humiliating climbdown. The fact that a monument in Pretoria erected by the ANC to acknowledge the dead of the revolutionary struggle has only one foreign nation represented, i.e., Cuba, says all you need to know about the nobility and sacrifice of the Cuban people. This book is a must have for anyone interested in the Cold War, Cuba, Africa and geopolitics.
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Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991 (The New Cold War History)
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