About the Author
Ricardo Soares de Oliveira is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, University of Oxford, Fellow of St. Peter´s College, Oxford, and Fellow of the Global Public Policy Institute, Berlin.
"Marvellous."-- 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!"
--José 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, Center 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
"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, Professor, Catholic University of Angola and Director of CEIC
"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
"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
"Soares de Oliveira offers a fascinating account of the Machiavellian adaptability of the MPLA leadership... [He] has a particular skill in understanding how what begins as one thing can transmute into another - including how [President] dos Santos the malleable puppet became dos Santos the almighty. He offers a detailed account of the aging president's accumulation of nearly unchallengeable power. [...] Careful and measured, his portrait is nonetheless damning."
--Philip Rothwell, Los Angeles Review of Books
"For anyone who wishes to understand Angola, and indeed modern Africa, this book is essential reading. It should certainly be the first port of call for anyone salivating at business opportunities in Angola."
--Louise Redvers, Good Governance Africa
"This engrossing, authoritative account of Angola's history since 2002, when its three-decade-long civil war finally ended, explains how a Marxist-Leninist government morphed into one of the most corrupt crony-capitalist regimes in the world. Critical to the story are the profits yielded by the close to two million barrels of oil the country pumps daily, but Soares de Oliveira also emphasizes political and sociological factors...The book argues that the recent growth is unsustainable, however, because the regime has done little to promote genuine economic development and because the quality of state institutions outside of the oil sector has withered."
-- Foreign Affairs Magazine
"Magnificent and Beggar Land is perhaps the finest account of contemporary Angola available in English. Academic jargon has been largely eschewed to attract a wider audience; yet, curious postgraduates will find impeccably referenced footnotes and a sprawling bibliography. Rather than leaf to the back, however, readers are more likely to remain enthralled by the author's astute observations and transfixed by his flawless turn of phrase." --Nick Branson, Africa Research Institute
"The book is a concise, intimately researched and continuously readable account of how Angola's changing domestic interactions since the end of the civil wars have affected its mode of insertion into the global system."
--Stephen Marks, Pambazuka News
"That oil and gusto gave the ruling class the autonomy to "self-style" Angola is an idea that Soares de Oliveira returns to throughout Magnificent and Beggar Land
to explain the shaping of the state and the economy. His account is compelling precisely because it takes the political vision of the country's elite seriously."
--Times Literary Supplement
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