Frontiersmen: Warfare in Africa since 1950

Frontiersmen: Warfare in Africa since 1950 gives a broad but shallow overview of conflicts in Africa from 1950 to 1997.


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Independence wars 1950 to 1962
  3. Independence wars 1962 to 1980
  4. Wars of integration and disintegration I: 1960 to 1980
  5. Southern Africa to 1983
  6. Southern Africa 1984 to 1997
  7. Wars of integration and disintegration II: 1980 to 1997
  8. Conclusion

I found Frontiersmen to be a pretty readable overview of modern Africa. The major conflicts, such as Algeria and Angola, are convered in some depth. It seemed pretty comprehensive, convering all the conflicts I’d heard of to some degree, and several I hadn’t. Some small conflicts had only a few paragraphs describing them, but they were there.

I don’t have a thorough knowledge of most of these conflicts, so it was rather beyond me to fact-check most of the information presented. The one odd thing that stood out to me was Clayton’s description of Somalia. He describes only one Blackhawk crash incident, which involved AC-130 support. It appears that this book was published about the same time as Bowden’s Black Hawk Down, so Clayton probably lacked that seminal reference, but the lack of AC-130 gunship support does appear to have been one of the key points of that engagement. I know there was a previous Blackhack crash involving the 101st Airborne, and I don’t know if perhaps they had AC-130 support (it would seem unlikely to me), but still, why mention that crash and ignore the Rangers’ firefight? Like I said, strange. Overall, though, this seems like a worthwhile book to read.

Frontiersmen: Warfare in Africa since 1950
Anthony Clayton
UCL Press Limited, 1999
ISBN: 1-85728-525-5

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