'A vivid eye-witness account of the devastation caused by war in Angola. Maier travelled widely in Angola in this period and was one of the very few journalists to write objective copy about what was happening. Through this book, Maier has become the natural successor of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski ... His sympathy is with the person in the street trying to survive despite all the promises and lies of Angola's elite. This could never have been captured so eloquently through dry academic analysis.'
Alex Vines, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism
'The most distinguished reporter and storyteller to cover wars in both Angola and Mozambique. Maier's book is a luminously accurate gem. He's wary of all the politicians and tender with ordinary people helpless against the guns of both sides.'
Peta Thornycroft, Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
'It makes a rivetting read and deserves to reach a wide public. With passionate eloquence Maier depicts the horrendous sufferings of ordinary Angolans, who have known nothing but war for over thirty years - enduring constant bombardments from one side or the other, families divided and uprooted, many thousands mutilated for live by anti-personnel mines, many thousands more, mainly women, children and old people, dying of hunger and malnutrition. The author's moving account of his encounters with individual Angolans of all ethnic and political persuasions brings out the indomitable tenacity and courage of ordinary Angolans, especially the women, as well as the senseless stupidity of the conflict. Maier describes it as a 'civil war fought primarily against innocent civilians, the povo (people), by armies of conscripted youngster on behalf of power-mad politicians ... Both Karl Maier and I know how hard it is to persuade anyone to publish a book about Angola. The argument is that there is no public interest - and apparently no desire to awaken it either. This book is therefore all the more welcome, and Serif are to be congratulated for making it possible.'
Margaret Anstee, International Relations
'No other book has attempted to explain the Angolan civil war as dispassionately as this one. Few journalists have got so near the long-suffering people on the roadside. Few have been able to observe the machinations of the politicians and their puppet-masters at such close quarters. The author knows Angola intimately and loves its people, but his book, subtitled "promises and lies", brooks no deviation from the truth as he perceives it. The result is elegant, compelling, tragic. It is a tour de force ...'
David Birmingham, Journal of Southern African Studies
'An energetic partisan for the povo, Karl Maier infuses his fast-moving account of the war and peace process in Angola with a large dose of humanity and a reporter's eye for telling detail. The last five years of war in Angola have killed more than 500,000 people and blown off more limbs than any other since the Second World War; it should have generated several books and dozens of television documentaries. It hasn't. Maier's account is one of the few and certainly the best. His book takes in ten years of reporting the war,getting to know the leaders, the combatants, and many of the ten million caught in the crossfire.'
Patrick Smith, International Affairs
'Angola: Promises and Lies is not about political analysis, it is about people and the unlimited endurance of the human spirit. The precision and detail of his interviews and observations, his compassion and insights combine to create a sense of truth.'
Sunday Times (Johannesburg)
'The author's compassion and sympathy are reserved for the victims on both sides of the conflict, who make up the overwhelming majority of the Angolan people.'
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