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A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique
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A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  62 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Powerful, instructive, and full of humanity, this book challenges the current understanding of the war that has turned Mozambique—a naturally rich country—into the world's poorest nation. Before going to Mozambique, William Finnegan saw the war, like so many foreign observers, through a South African lens, viewing the conflict as apartheid's "forward defense." This lens wa ...more
Paperback, 325 pages
Published February 26th 1993 by University of California Press (first published February 1992)
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Jun 04, 2012 Elliot rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-work
The history of Mozambique is complicated, confusing, and often brutally awful, but also extremely important in order to understand the complexities of Mozambique as it is today. This is certainly not an uplifting book, and the structure of dividing the book into geographical areas and then wandering around between different anecdotes is sometimes difficult to follow, but somehow this actually represents Mozambique rather well.

Despite having lived in and studied Mozambique for a year when I read
Thomas Lang
Apr 01, 2015 Thomas Lang rated it liked it
Shelves: out-of-africa
Beggars wont be choosers and there are very few books devoted to the conflict that was in Mozambique. I enjoyed much of Finnegan's analysis but did not care greatly for the narrative, although he certainly had a great amount of firsthand experience in Mozambique. What I disliked the most about the book was Finnegan constantly ridiculing almost every African of European descent he met, especially Afrikaners (who either come across as African hillbillies or remorseless capitalists). Finnegan spend ...more
Dec 12, 2014 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
This is a good journalistic take on the civil war in Mozambique from the late 1970s to early 1990s. The book wanders in its topics, but that seems to fit the telling of a Mozambican story like this. It gave me a much deeper understanding of the conflict and its effects. I would label this book a must-read if you are seeking to understand that period in the country's history.
Dec 15, 2014 Marc rated it really liked it
The sterile title and boring cover design don't do this book justice. It's a good book, and draws a good balance between journalistic stories and insights and more academic research. A great place to learn about 1980s Mozambique and the post independence civil war.
Oct 11, 2015 Cameron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mozambique
Anyone who wants to know about Mozambique's recent history must read this book--not just because it's full of names, facts and dates, but because it's a stunning work of exploration and exposure by a journalist who chose to travel through a viciously dangerous countryside to try to understand the reality of a nation devastated by fear. But more than that, this is also a superb piece of writing: engrossing from beginning to end, every page packed with vivid prose and thought-provoking discussion. ...more
May 15, 2015 Meg rated it it was ok
Like the civil war it is trying to describe, Finnegan's book is complicated. The work is one part travel memoir, one part journalistic essay, and one part history book. Although the subject matter is interesting, and the writing is well-researched and very well documented, the book is structured around the geography of the country. While this clearly illustrates the varying circumstances of the war and the vastly different situations, I found it difficult to keep track of the overall historical ...more
Stephen Witt
Feb 28, 2009 Stephen Witt rated it really liked it
The epigraph is a quote from Dante's Inferno, which seems a bit affected until you read the whole thing, and then you are like wow Africa is Hell.
Andrew Lind
Sep 15, 2009 Andrew Lind rated it it was amazing
Anyone interested in the history of Mozambique - the war part - will love this book. Very well written.
Oct 12, 2007 Wendy rated it really liked it
Definitely harrowing, but Finnegan's confident voice keeps you from putting it down.
Geoffrey Wells
Apr 09, 2011 Geoffrey Wells rated it it was amazing
A highly informative account of the Mozambique civil war.
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Great African Reads: Mozambique side-read: A Complicated War 1 11 Jul 05, 2014 11:14AM  

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