Following the publication of Al Venter’s successful Portugal’s Guerrilla Wars in Africa — shortlisted by the New York Military Affairs Symposium’s ‘Arthur Goodzeit Book Award for 2013’ — in his Battle for Angola, he delves still further into the troubled history of this former Portuguese African colony.
For the sake of continuity, the author has included several chapters on that colonial struggle in this work, with the main thrust on events before and after — including the civil war that followed Lisbon’s over-hasty departure back to the metrópole, as well as the role of South African mercenaries in defeating the rebel leader Dr. Jonas Savimbi (considered by some as the most accomplished guerrilla leader to emerge in Africa in the past century).
He is helped by several notable authorities, including the French historian Dr. René Pélissier and the American academic and former naval aviator Dr. John (Jack) Cann. With their assistance, he covers several ancillary uprisings and invasions, including the Herero revolt of the early 20th century; the equally-troubled Ovambo insurrection, as well as the invasion of Angola by the Imperial German Army in the First World War.
An important section deals with the South African Border War, because without Angola, that would never have happened — nor ‘Operation Savannah’ and the invasion of Angola from the south. Finally, the role of the Cuban Revolutionary Army receives the attention it deserves.
About the Author
Al J. Venter, now living in the UK, has written over 40 books, including Allah’s Bomb, Iran’s Nuclear Option, and Iraqi War Debrief. As a military correspondent for Jane’s Information Group in Britain for much of his career, he has covered conflicts on almost every continent. Al is also an active diver and passionate shark lover. He has reported on a number of wars in Africa, starting with the Nigerian Civil War in 1965. In the 1980s, Venter also reported in Uganda while under the reign of Idi Amin.
The most notable consequence of this assignment was an hour-long documentary titled Africa’s Killing Fields, ultimately broadcast nationwide in the United States by PBS. In 1985, Venter made a one-hour documentary that commemorated the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. More recently, Venter was active in Sierra Leone with South African mercenary pilot Neal Ellis flying combat in a Russian helicopter gunship. That experience formed the basis of the book on mercenaries published recently and titled War Dog: Fighting Other People’s Wars.
Venter wrote one of the first books on the developing guerrilla wars in Central and Southern Africa. That was The Terror Fighters, published by the British company Purnells in Cape Town in 1969. It dealt with Lisbon’s escalating guerrilla war in Angola during the 1960s and 1970s that eventually led to the downfall of the Portuguese regime.
He also wrote Coloured – A Profile of Two Million South Africans (Human & Rosseau, Cape Town 1974) which served as an indictment of Pretoria’s racial policies and was penned before it became fashionable to be anti-Apartheid. Unusually progressive for its time, the book highlighted the contribution of colored people against apartheid.
Venter has contributed to Britain’s Jane’s Information Group for 30 years and has published in Jane’s Defence Weekly, Jane’s Intelligence Review, Jane’s Terrorism and Security Review, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst.
- Title: Battle For Angola – Portuguese West Africa: A History Of Conflict
- Author: Al J. Venter
- Publisher: Helion and Company
- Date of Publication: November 30, 2016
- Language: English
- Hardcover: 496 pp.
Source: Amazon.com with PAJ staff.