In The Dogs of War, Frederick Forsyth effectively described an attempt by mercenaries to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea in 1972. And the chain of events surrounding the night of March 7, 2004, is a rare case of life imitating art or, at least, life imitating a 1970s thriller in almost uncanny detail. With a cast of characters worthy of a remake of Wild Geese and a plot as mazy as it was unlikely, The Wonga Coup is a tale of venality, overarching vanity, and greed, whose example speaks to the problems of the entire African continent.
©2006 Adam Roberts; (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.
"An irresistibly lurid tale is peopled with bellicose profiteers, particularly of the neocolonialist sort from Europe and South Africa, with long histories of investment in oil, diamonds, and war-for-profit." (Publishers Weekly)
Today, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging. He was once our "friend." Then he defied us and we invaded. His eventual trial and sentence were inevitable. As long as Obiang plays ball with the US (and the oil companies), he'll be our friend. If he were to ever defy us, he'd better watch out.
This book was a great follow-up to the stories reported previously in the media. I wanted to know more about what really happened in such an innocuous country and how certain prominent characters became involved. This story starts out as a comedy and quickly turns into a tragedy. I was torn between the plotters getting what they deserved versus maybe, just maybe, those involved might get off with more lenient terms. I thought the reader was good, not overplaying the accents and keeping them understandable. If you are a news junkie who would like to know the back story that led to someone finally taking action and the aftermath, I highly recommend this book.
This book is fascinating from the start - as much or more for simple fun than intellectual appreciation. The book is written in an elegant, engaging, and subtly funny style, and the reader is a pleasure.
The content of the book is very good. He convincingly portrays mercernaries, plotters, and the various things that go into a coup and how they can go wrong. He's very descriptive of the decision making, and gives good reasons why they made these decisions and how they got the results they did.
He doesn't spend any time critiquing the coup, and he is remarkably uneditorial about the whole thing. I felt that I could understand and sympathize with all the plotters. If you want more abstract details and overarching commentary, read Luttwak's coup de 'etat. This is well written as an engaging an immersing story of how some folks might get the notion that a coup is a bright idea.
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