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Biafra

The Nigerian Civil War 1967-1970

Biafra : The Nigerian Civil War 1967-1970

Series : Africa@War #16

Paperback Helion & Company 297mm x 210mm 72 pages 130 colour & b/w photos, maps

Not yet published - in Autumn 2019 list

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Nigeria was a unique concept in the formation of modern Africa. It began life as a highly lucrative if climatically challenging holding of the Royal Niger Company, a British Chartered Company under the control of Victorian capitalist Sir George Taubman Goldie. It was handed over to indigenous rule in 1960 with the best of intentions and a profound hope on the part of the British Crown that it would become the poster child of successful political transition in Africa. It did not. One of the signature failures of imperial strategists at the turn of the 19th century was to take little if any account of the traditional demographics of the territories and societies that were subdivided, and often joined together, into spheres of foreign influence, later evolving into colonies, and finally into nation states. Many of the signature crises in post-colonial Africa have owed their origins to this very phenomenon: incompatible and mutually antagonistic tribal and ethnic groupings forced to cohabit within the indivisible precincts of political geography. Congo, Rwanda/Burundi, Sudan and many others have suffered ongoing attrition within their borders as historic enmities surge and boil in restless and ongoing violence. Such was the case with Nigeria in the post-independence period. The traditions and practices of the Islamic north and the Christian/Animist south, and even within the multiplicity of ethnic division in the south itself, proved to be impossible to reconcile. The result was an immediate centrifuge away from the centre, complicated by the vast infusion of oil revenues and the inevitable explosion of corruption that followed. All of this created the alchemy of civil war and genocide, which erupted into violence in 1967 as the eastern region of Nigeria attempted to secede. The war that followed shocked the conscience of the world, and revealed for the first time the true depth of incompatibility of the four partners in the Nigerian federation. This book traces the early history of Nigeria from inception to civil war, and the complex events that defined the conflict in Biafra, revealing how and why this awful event played out, and the scars that it has since left on the psyche of the disunited federation that has continued to exist in the aftermath. AFRICA@WAR SERIESAt any given time, there are at least half a dozen conflicts taking place in Africa, from civil strife and brutal insurgencies to full-blown conventional wars. Yet, apart from the grand campaigns and battles of colonial yesteryear—Omdurman, Isandlwana, Spioenkop et al—little is known outside the Dark Continent of the plethora of brushfire wars that occur with monotonous regularity. Following the Second World War, with the colonial powers—Britain in particular—looking to divest themselves of their burdensome empires, the ‘winds of change’, fuelled by the Cold War, swept through every nook and cranny of the continent. From Algeria to South Africa, from the Congo to Kenya, the continent literally erupted in conflict. Butchery and barbarism, under the guise of Black Nationalism, became bywords of African insurgencies; the tactics of terror, so espoused by Chairman Mao, one of the principal backers—in competition with Soviet imperialism—of African liberation movements, became standard operating procedure.Africa—the continent that gave the world ‘pseudo’ counterterrorist operations as developed in Kenya to combat the Mau Mau, the Rhodesian Fireforce concept, radical innovations in vehicle mine-proofing, South African armour which fought the Cubans to a standstill at Cuito Cuanavale in the largest continental tank battle since Alamein, MiG and Mirage dogfights over the skies of Angola—is not all doom and gloom: it is as rich in its cultural diversity as it is in its martial traditions. Apart from a colourful array of liberation movements, mercenaries, brigands, pirates and terrorists, the cast includes such legendary units as the King’s African Rifles, the Portuguese Flechettes, the French Foreign Legion, the Rhodesian Selous Scouts and SAS, and the South African Recces, 32 Battalion and Koevoet.Africa@War, a ground-breaking series, studies Africa’s post-1945 conflicts and military players in an informative and entertaining manner, examining some of the lesser known campaigns and shedding new light on some of the better known operations.

 

“Africa@War is a ground-breaking series concept, studying Africa’s conflicts and military players in an informative and entertaining manner, examining some of the lesser-known campaigns and shedding new light on some of the better-known operations … great models of what the combination of authors and publishers can produce by way of useable case studies for the market place in a concise illustrated format.  They are recommended as professional military education references.”  Charles D. Melson, Chief Historian, U.S. Marine Corps

 

"Each of the books in this series is a well-documented and researched synopsis of the events that they are focused upon. They layouts and presentation are logical and of a very high quality ... As an introduction to this field of operation, this series is outstanding. A definite asset for those wishing to improve their knowledge and understanding of the development of successful, multi-faceted doctrine in the fight against insurgent/assymetric war."  Major Chris Buckham, Royal Canadian Air Force Journal

 

"For a pithy précis on the Nigerian Civil War, grab this convenient chronicle." Cybermodeler Online

Additional Information

Publisher
Helion & Company
ISBN
9781912866892
Date of Publication
December 2019
Edition
Revised & Expanded Edition
Binding
Paperback
Book Size
297mm x 210mm
Pages
72 pages
Images
130 colour & b/w photos, maps
Language
English text
Helion Book Code
HEL1175
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Helion & Company
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