Editors’ Note: The reviewer served as a military intelligence analyst with the Cuban armed forces in Angola. He is also one of the Cuban Five, a prisoner of the US government, serving an 18-year sentence on completely bogus “espionage” conviction. We are honored to post his review on a subject  on which he is an expert  — African liberation.

This is an indispensable book to understand the struggle for independence in all of southern Africa during the second half of the past century, as well as the specific struggle of the people of South Africa to defeat the apartheid regime.

Today, the book’s author, Vladimir Shubin is the Deputy Director of the Institute for African Studies in the Russian Academy of Sciences.

He was an officer in the Soviet armed forces, a member of the Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee, and desk officer of the African Section of the Communist Party of the USSR. In the latter two capacities he became intensely involved in supporting Southern African liberation movements on behalf of the USSR.

His work deals in succession with the liberation struggles in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa during the period 1960 to 1990.Shubin devotes the bulk of his discussion (109 pages) to Angola, followed by Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Shubin’s book is well researched and documented. He acquired his direct knowledge in meetings with representatives of the African liberation movements, from interviews with leaders of those movements, and from declassified documents and memoirs of Soviet direct participants in the events described.

Vladimir Shubin sets the record straight about the significant contribution the now vanished Soviet Union made to the liberation struggles in southern Africa.

Whatever were the Soviet economic and political shortcomings that led to its demise and to the defeat of the socialist experiments in Eastern Europe, the history and details set forth by Shubin reflect the spirit of solidarity and the internationalist commitment of the Soviet people, Soviet society, and its Communist Party.

Vladimir Shubin has written a must-read book. It is a book that that could be surpassed only when still classified documents are open to review.

Fernando Gonzalez Llort

The Hot “Cold War” — The USSR in Southern Africa, Vladimir Shubin, Pluto Press, 2008 paperback, ISBN 978 0 7453 2472 2