Out of the Shadows: Portugal from Revolution to the Present Day
By Neill Lochery
Bloomsbury, 2017, 384 pp.
Although it has ten million citizens, a strategic location, and a crisis-prone economy, Portugal receives little international academic or media attention. Lochery has written a useful introduction to an underappreciated corner of Europe, tracing the country’s history from the fall of authoritarian rule in the so-called Carnation Revolution of 1974 to the present. Most of his story covers the early years. It recounts how Portugal established democracy, a tale that involves U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s curious intervention in Portuguese domestic politics to bolster moderates against Communists. Lochery also narrates Portugal’s joining the EU in 1986 and the 2004 elevation of a Portuguese politician, José Manuel Barroso, to head the European Commission. Short chapters on recent years focus on the political fallout of the financial crisis, which posed as dire a threat to Portuguese democracy as communism had a quarter century earlier.