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War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 2

War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 2 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review October 2019 Title War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 2
Author Adrien Fontanellaz Publisher Helion
Published 2019 ISBN 9781911628651
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (GBP) TBA


Adrien Fontanellaz continues Helion’s superb survey of post-colonial Cold War conflict in War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 2: Angolan and Cuban Forces, 1976-1983 – 34th in the publisher’s respected “Africa@War” range.

Fontanellaz sets the stage with brief “addenda/errata” to Volume 1 and an introductory précis of Angola after the MPLA’s victory.

Those segue to five more chapters chronologically charting combat – and the alphabet soup of key actors in Angola’s agony.

MMCA. MPLA. FNLA. UNITA. FAPLA. FALA. FAR. PLAN. SADF. And more. Government. Insurgent. Interventionist.

But you “can’t tell the players without a scorecard”, Americans say. And Fontanellaz thankfully includes a handy abbreviations glossary. Unfortunately, not all appear on the list.

Dozens of rare, intriguing photos further augment the lavishly illustrated effort. Maps provide narrative context. And 18 superb color profiles – nine armor by David Bocquelet and ten aircraft by Tom Cooper – proffer potent project potential.

How about that UNITA T-34/85?

The admirably annotated effort also taps a range of English-, Spanish-, French-, and Portuguese-language references – primary, secondary, and anecdotal.

But some sources – Pathfinder Press, for instance – remain shamelessly propagandistic. Exactly who claimed that Israel militarily aided UNITA after passage of the “Clark Amendment” by the US Congress in 1976? And why no caption for the handsomely camouflaged FAPA MiG-21PFM (?) “C50” on the cover?

That’s also Holden Roberto – not “Roberto Holden”. And the extent of Cuban awareness of Katangan incursions into Zaïre’s Shabba (sic: Shaba) province frankly remains disputable.

None of these nitpicks seriously depletes the value of Helion’s vital volume. Coverage of UNITA organization and operations alone is worth the price of admission.

Get Fontanellaz’s ably balanced account. Then line-up behind me for Volume 3 on “Angolan and Cuban Air Forces, 1975-1989”!

With thanks to Helion for the review copy!