Book review of, Across the Border: Surviving the Secret War in Angola




Norman McFarlane’s recently published memoir of his experiences as a national serviceman and then as a Citizen Force “camper” brings a new perspective to the growing library of conscript accounts of service in the South Africa “Bush” or “Border War” in northern Namibia/Angola. To date, the majority of the published conscript accounts cover service during the second decade of the
war from 1978 to 1988; but McFarlane’s narrative brings a conscript’s perspective of service in the earlier Operation Savannah in 1975/6. The first clandestine phase of the war, under the South African Defence Force (SADF) code name Operation Savannah, was cloaked in secrecy at the time. Thrown into a maelstrom of post-Vietnam Cold War politics by the collapse of the Portuguese colonial regime in Angola, the South African government attempted a cloak-and-dagger military intervention into that country in support of the two anti-colonial forces that espoused anticommunism: the Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA) and the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) and that were struggling for control of the country against
the Russian-armed and Cuban-supported forces of the Marxist-Leninist Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA). 


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How to Cite

Doherty, C. . (2023). Book review of, Across the Border: Surviving the Secret War in Angola. Southern Journal for Contemporary History, 48(1), 136-140.



Book reviews