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Magnificent and Beggar Land


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About the Author

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira is University Lecturer in Comparative Politics, University of Oxford, fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford, and fellow of the Global Public Policy Institute, Berlin. He is the author of Oil and Politics in the Gulf of Guinea and co-editor of China Returns to Africa and The New Protectorates, all of which are published by Hurst.


'[T]his little-studied kleptocracy is an accepted part of the western system. Expat western workers keep Angola ticking. Angolan oligarchs inhabit the global luxury economy of British public schools, Swiss asset managers, Hermes stores etc. In fact, argues the Oxford political scientist Ricardo Soares de Oliveira in his marvellous new book, Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil War, we live in "an oligarch's ideal world". Western countries barely even pretend to disapprove of kleptocrats any more.' - Financial Times; 'A lucid, clear and remarkably well-informed look at a particularly complex and so often absurd country, served by writing of a rare literary quality. Brilliant!' - Jose Eduardo Agualusa, Angolan novelist 'This is a stunning book, which takes the lid off Angola in a way that I have never seen equalled for any African state - and does it, moreover, for a state which is both extremely important and very little known. It is superbly written, and draws on a detailed familiarity that gives a feel for the place that no amount of simple fact gathering could ever convey. It will be absolutely essential for understanding Angola. At the same time, it paints a convincing picture of the African oil state that will have a resonance well beyond Angola, and should bring it to the attention of anyone concerned with African development, and especially the "African miracle" that has been built largely on the back of temporarily booming commodity prices.' - Christopher Clapham, Professor, Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge 'Fascinating, provocative, and based on extensive field research, the book is an in-depth contribution to understanding Angola's path after the end of the civil war'. - Manuel Ennes Ferreira, Professor, ISEG, Technical University of Lisbon 'Nothing like this book has existed. Drawing on a large number of interviews and years of closely following the country's politics, Soares de Oliveira provides a hugely informative insight into Angola's extraordinary postwar transformation. He provides a detailed analysis of the emergence of an Angolan oligarchy and its roots in an exercise in postwar parallel state building. And he shows superbly how this state has completely monopolised politics, and has rebuilt its place in the world - and in Angola itself - but has not, at any rate as yet, become a developmental state delivering widespread material benefits.' - Christopher Cramer, Professor of the Political Economy of Development, School or Oriental and African Studies, University of London 'Ricardo Soares de Oliveira's profound knowledge of the political economy of petroleum in Angola is once again revealed in his new book on the country's post-2002 trajectory.' - Alves da Rocha, Professo, Catholic University of Angola and Director of CEIC 'This is the best study of Angola in English, and one of the best books in any language on what remains a poorly understood country. It also serves to illustrate some of the deeper complexities underlying the "Africa Rising" narrative that has become so prominent in international business circles.' - Stephen Ellis, Desmond Tutu Professor, Free University, Amsterdam and author of External Mission: The ANC in Exile, 1960-1990

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