Engaging Africa: Washington and the Fall of Portugal's Colonial Empire

In This Review

Engaging Africa: Washington and the Fall of Portugal's Colonial Empire

By Witney W. Schneidman
University Press of America, 2004
312 pp. $33.00

This book, a must-read for anyone interested in decolonization or Cold War diplomacy, is the definitive diplomatic history of U.S.-Portuguese relations in the 1960s and 1970s, in the context of Portugal's 1974 revolution and the end of its African empire. The 1974 military coup was motivated by unhappiness in the army over seemingly endless war in Portugal's African colonies, so rapid decolonization was an inevitable consequence. Schneidman argues that these events came as a surprise to the Nixon administration, its understanding of local dynamics clouded by an exaggerated fear of the communist threat in both Portugal and Africa. And he is critical of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's policies toward southern Africa, arguing that U.S. policy errors were in part to blame for the Angolan civil war, which did not end until 2002. Schneidman tells an engaging story, enlivened by personal interviews with many key figures and archival material he obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Enjoy more high-quality articles like this one.

Become a subscriber.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles posted daily online and almost a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now

More Reviews on Africa From This Issue

Browse All Capsule Reviews

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.