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The best non-fiction covering the 'other' wars
January 9, 2011 12:04 PM   Subscribe

What are the best non-fiction books about the lesser known wars of the 20th century?

I know similar recommendation questions have been asked about the World Wars and the Cold War, but I'm more interested in the lesser known conflicts like the Rhodesian Bush War or the Coconut War.

I am personally more interested in the political and social elements of the conflicts than the tactical/military angle, but all recommendations are welcome.
posted by northerner to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Alistair Horne's A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 is a brilliant book on the Algerian War.
posted by gyusan at 12:27 PM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa by Peter Godwin is an account of Godwin's life from childhood in Rhodesia through the war, in which he served with the Rhodesian police, and the transition to Zimbabwe, after which he returned as an investigative journalist. Thoroughly recommended. Godwin's own webpage also has lists some of his other books about Rhodesia/Zimbabwe which may be of interest (which I was not aware of until searching for a link for this answer, and will now be seeking out).
posted by Jakey at 12:31 PM on January 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Soccer War by Ryszard Kapuscinski is a series of essays (primarily) about various skirmishes in the mid 20th-Century with a focus on Africa and Latin-America. They're not in-depth analyses, but well-written pieces of a few different places if that's kind of what you're looking for.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:44 PM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador by NYT reporter Raymond Bonner was a pretty good look at the earliest phases of U.S. involvement in the 12 year conflict that decimated El Salvador's from 1979 to 1991. Published in 1984, the book misses some of the darkest later episodes of the El Salvador tragedy, including the worst abuses of later death squads, but it does illustrate how such conflicts could move from "minor" to "hot" as a foreign policy issue for a "great power," when said great power prefers simply to ignore early signs of political unrest and excess.
posted by paulsc at 12:50 PM on January 9, 2011


The Immaculate Invasion - about US military intervention in Haiti in 1994
posted by Flood at 1:56 PM on January 9, 2011


Trotsky: The Balkan Wars 1912-13. Superb reportage; I wish he'd stuck to journalism instead of moving on to mass murder.
posted by languagehat at 2:31 PM on January 9, 2011


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