Angola's civil war has been the longest and bloodiest in Africa. What was once a proxy conflict between the Cold War superpowers has become an apparently endless ethnic conflict. While the political leaders struggle to control the country's immense reserves of diamonds and oil, ordinary Angolans have been caught in the crossfire of a quarter of a century of conflict. There have been many books written on Angola, either by South Africans or by authors who have favored and/or defended South Africa's involvement. Maier, through unbiased eyes, records perhaps the clearest view. In 1992 the country was supposed to, under UN auspices, hold its first ever democratic election-but it all went wrong. UNITA's Jonas Savimbi rejected his defeat. Pik Botha, for many years one of Savimbi's greatest defenders, went to Angola to help bring peace to the country. UNITA owes much of its current military strength to Pretoria, just as the MPLA had a huge debt to the Cubans and the former Soviet Union. Botha's diplomatic efforts were no more successful than those of other international peacekeepers and the diplomatic community eventually negotiated a new, though fragile, peace agreement. Skeptical of both sides' promises and lies about peace, Maier has written a gripping account of conflict in one of the world's most tragic yet least understood war zones.