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Here's some more shameless publicity. KATANGA 1960-63: MERCENARIES, SPIES AND THE AFRICAN NATION THAT WAGED WAR ON THE WORLD will be published 7 September 2015. It's available from amazon.co.uk and bookshops nationwide. There's also an ebook version for those who prefer pixels to ink. It will be published in America sometime in December 2015. Enjoy.



After you've read this check out my new blog for all kinds of cultural and military weirdness.

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Katanga Book - September 2015


Mercenaries, Spies and the African Nation that Waged War on the World



Katanga 1960-63 Book Cover My second book, KATANGA 1960-63: MERCENARIES, SPIES AND THE AFRICAN NATION THAT WAGED WAR ON THE WORLD, will be hitting bookshops in September 2015. Blood diamonds, CIA assassins, jungle fire fights, unsolved murders, and a man who once flew Haile Selassie's private plane into a tree. Some good photographs too.

KATANGA 1960-63: MERCENARIES, SPIES AND THE AFRICAN NATION THAT WAGED WAR ON THE WORLD tells, for the first time, the full story of the Congolese province that declared independence in 1960 and found itself at war with the world. The Congo had no intention of allowing the renegade region to secede, and neither did the CIA, the KGB, or the United Nations.

It was a fantastically uneven battle. The United Nations fielded soldiers from twenty nations, America paid the bills, and the Soviets intrigued behind the scenes. Yet to everyone’s surprise the new nation’s rag-tag army of local gendarmes, superstitious jungle tribesmen and, controversially, European mercenaries refused to give in.

For two and a half years Katanga, the scrawniest underdog to ever fight a war, held off the might of the United Nations with guerrilla warfare, two-faced diplomacy, and some very shadowy financial backing. It even looked as if the Katangese might win.

What happened in the former Belgian colony (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is still important today. It was the ground zero of conflict diamonds, private military contractors, CIA-sponsored African dictatorships, and global corporations picking clean the bones of third world countries.

It began on 30 June 1960 when Belgium reluctantly gave the Congo its independence. The mineral rich nation sprawled across central Africa had been governed from Brussels since the nineteenth century. Hopes were high its natural resources would buy a peaceful and prosperous future.

Within two weeks the province of Katanga, main source of the world’s copper and uranium, the vital ingredient of atomic weapons, declared its own independence. The secession, masterminded by Katangese leader Moise Tshombe and a Belgian mining company, began a bloody civil war that pulled in foreign adventurers, CIA agents, and the UN.

It is an incredible, forgotten piece of contemporary history full of larger than life characters like the African secessionist leader with a weakness for blondes, the Irish academic determined to be a UN warrior, the megalomaniac Belgian settler with a resemblance to Joseph Conrad’s Kurtz in ‘Heart of Darkness’, and the adventurers from Belgium, France, Britain, and South Africa who would fight anyone, anywhere, for the right price.

If you'd like a taste of the book, here's a sample chapter about an unsolved murder mystery in the Rhodesian bush.

It's published as a hardback and an ebook. KATANGA 1960-63: MERCENARIES, SPIES AND THE AFRICAN NATION THAT WAGED WAR ON THE WORLD will also be available in America sometime in December 2015.

I'm always interested in hearing from people who have further information about Katanga or the subsequent Congo wars that involved 5 Commando, 6 Commando, Schramme, and the Simbas. Email me at brightreview@aol.com .



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All website material © Christopher Othen 2009-2015. Something to say? E-mail brightreview@aol.com.