This book examines the internal politics of the war that divided Angola for more than a quarter-century after its independence. It emphasises the Angolan people's relationship to the rival political forces that prevented the development of a united nation, an aspect of the conflict that has received little attention in earlier studies. Drawing upon interviews with farmers, town dwellers, soldiers and politicians in Central Angola, Justin Pearce examines the ideologies about nation and state that elites deployed in pursuit of hegemony and traces how people responded to these attempts at politicisation. The book not only demonstrates the potency of the rival conceptions of state and nation in shaping perceptions of self-interest and determining political loyalty, but also shows the ways in which allegiances could and did change for much of the Angolan population in response to the experience of military force.
‘This book is exceptional because of the hundreds of interviews Justin Pearce conducted with peasants loyal to both warring parties. Moreover, he is unique because he does not show a scintilla of preference between the MPLA and UNITA. Furthermore, he covers an interesting interregnum between the end of the war in 2002 and today.’ – Gerald Bender, Associate Professor Emeritus of International Relations, University of Southern California