There is little consideration of the shortcomings of Mozambique's revolutionary hero in this book, and much that borders on adulation. Nevertheless the author, a British journalist residing in Maputo since 1975, has produced an informative biography of Machel, who trained as a male nurse in the Portuguese colonial era, rose to become FRELIMO's military chief and in 1970 succeeded the assassinated Eduardo Mondlane as the party's president. Machel's 11 years as leader of independent Mozambique were bedeviled by the Pretoria-sponsored rebel movement RENAMO, and ended in 1986 in a mysterious plane crash in South Africa. Despite Machel's inability to withstand the coercive might of the apartheid state, his achievements were considerable; he helped lay the foundations for a nonracial society in Mozambique, as well as bring majority-rule governments to power in Zimbabwe and Portugal.
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