Sanctuary Lost: Portugal’s Air War for Guinea 1961-1974

Published on
February 17, 2024
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Matthew M. Hurley & Jose Augusto Matos
ISBN
978-1-804512-05-0
MSRP
$29.95
Product / Stock #
HEL 1634
Company: Helion & Company - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Cover

When it comes to the military history of Africa, it is a checkerboard of a multitude of generally smaller conflicts precipitated by a host of issues, from civil war to ethnic tensions to the demise of colonialism. Having an interest in military history, especially air warfare, I am intrigued by what lies hidden from my knowledge of the people, equipment, motivations, strategies, and the shaping of the history of this continent.

The Africa@War series divides this vast topic into bite-sized, localized fare that brings all of these nuances of the movement of history to light. This title brings to light the erosion of Portugal’s colonial hold on Portuguese Guinea, and the role of air warfare in the conflict.

These African conflicts offer glimpses into smaller military or paramilitary bodies using second- or third-tier equipment as best they can in rudimentary environments. This book is no exception, and I gleaned some fascinating insight into the limitations of such equipment in these contexts. Placing the aircraft and strategies used in such a context highlights the ingenuity required by the personalities and air services involved. In this particular story, the “hardware” characters included the gamut from pre-WWII trainers (T-6 Texans) to WWII mainstays (C-47s) to second-tier modern jets (Sabres and G.91s) to modern (for the era) helicopters (Alouettes), and a host of supporting characters to boot.

The book is 112 pages and includes 84 photos, 20 color profiles, 30 maps and diagrams, 20 tables and 7 graphs – plenty of “data” to help visualize the landscape and the constraints involved.

I will pick up more of these Africa@War books, as Africa in many ways still remains a “hidden” continent to me. And though military history isn’t the only lens through which to expand understanding, it is one that intersects with my interests and hobbies such that it is an engaging way to learn more about the world around me.

Thanks to the team at Helion for another nice history and reference source, and to Casemate for the opportunity to review it.

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