The Last of Africa's Cold War Conflicts

Portuguese Guinea and its Guerilla Insurgency

Al J Venter

Portugal was the first European country to colonize Africa. It was also the last to leave, almost five centuries later.
Date Published :
July 2020
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
40 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526772985
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, Al Venter examines the Soviet-led guerrilla conflict in Portuguese Guinea which sought to expel the Portuguese colonials over a brutal 10-year war.

Portugal was the first European country to colonize Africa. It was also the last to leave, almost five centuries later. During the course of what Lisbon called its “civilizing mission in Africa” the Portuguese weathered numerous insurrections, but none as severe as the guerrilla war first launched in Angola in 1961 and two years later in Portuguese Guinea. While Angola had a solid economic infrastructure, that did not hold for the tiny West African enclave that was to become Guinea-Bissau. Both Soviets and Cubans believed that because that tiny colony- roughly the size of Belgium - had no resources and a small population, that Lisbon would soon capitulate. They were wrong, because hostilities lasted more than a decade and the 11-year struggle turned into the most intense of Lisbon's three African colonies.

It was a classic African guerrilla campaign that kicked off in January 1963, but nobody noticed because what was taking place in Vietnam grabbed all the headlines. The Soviet-led guerrilla campaign in Portuguese Guinea was to go on and set the scene for the wars that followed in Rhodesia and present-day Namibia.

About The Author

Al J. Venter is a specialist military writer who has had over fifty books published. He started his career with International Defence Review, covering military developments in the Middle East and Africa. He has been writing on insurgencies across the globe for half a century and remains involved with Britain's Jane’s Information Group. Late 2019 he covered the conflict in the Central African Republic, a United Nations "Peacekeeping" effort for _Jane's Defence Weekly_. Sadly, he found a country striven with violence.

In his day the author was a stringer for the BBC, NBC News, as well as _London’s Daily Express_ and _Sunday Express._ He branched into television work in the early 1980s, producing more than a hundred documentary films including _Africa’s Killing Fields_ (on the Ugandan civil war) as well as _AIDS: The African Connection_, nominated for a Pink Magnolia Award in Shanghai, China. He also produced an hour-long television programme on Russia's war in Afghanistan in 1985.

One of his most recent major books, _Portugal’s Guerrilla Wars in Africa_, was nominated for New York’s Arthur Goodzeit military history book award. Venter writes extensively for several Pen & Sword military history series including ‘Cold War 1945–1991’ and ‘A History of Terror’.


"Venter was one of the few journalists who had the opportunity to visit the Portuguese areas affected by the conflict and report on the events there without restriction."

- Terrorism and Political Violence

"This volume’s numerous insights about the components of effective counterinsurgency also apply to the current management of counterinsurgencies in Afghanistan and elsewhere."

- Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

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