University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

African Wars: A Defense Intelligence Perspective

Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 06/04/2015 - 8:27am

William Thom
$34.95 CAD / $39.95 USD
275 pages
14 b/w photos, 4 maps, glossary, bibliography, index
Africa: Missing Voices
February 2010


About the Book: 

I have never read anything quite like it: it is original in that it provides historical accounts from the perspective of the military and what an American analyst would consider important events in African wars. Comparable books would not have access to the kind of data or information provided therein; hence it is a unique advancement of the literature on African wars... -Erin Baines, Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia

During the past forty years, Africa south of the Sahara has been the most conflict-prone region of the world. Yet in spite of its growing geopolitical importance, both as a resource base and as an emerging factor in the U.S.-led 'war on terror,' it remains one of the least understood. African Wars provides a concise summary of four decades of warfare in sub-Saharan Africa, with expert commentary by an experienced and highly respected senior U.S. intelligence officer. As a defense analyst and eventually senior Africa specialist in the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, William Thom acquired unique in-depth knowledge of conflict in this vast and troubled region. Ranging from postcolonial insurgency in Rhodesia to ongoing strife in the Horn of Africa, from the horrors of Rwanda and the Congo to devastating civil wars in Angola, Mozambique, and Liberia, the book tracks seventeen different conflicts, many of which have a continuing influence on the continent's political-military affairs today. Thom complements his penetrating and often gripping accounts of specific wars with valuable wide-ranging impressions, in particular the often surprising adaptability of combatant groups to their material and political environments, and the frustrating marginalization of Africa within security circles during this period.

African Wars is also a lively memoir, as Thom brings a wealth of detail, personal insight, and wit to the story of his training and education as an intelligence officer, the difficulties and oddities of traveling in Africa, and his skirmishes with the intelligence bureaucracy. Anyone interested in African security issues, contemporary warfare, or military intelligence will find this book a vital and timely discovery.

About the Author(s): 

William G. Thom is a retired professional intelligence officer who spent thirty-five years with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); from 1987 to 2002, he was Defense Intelligence Officer for Africa, the senior Africanist in the DIA.