Book Review: The Wonga Coup

wonga

The Wonga Coup written by Adam Roberts, gets a 2.5 out of a possible 5 stars on the Shotgun rating scale.

The subtitle reads:  “Guns, thugs, and a ruthless determination to create mayhem in an oil rich corner of Africa.”

A tiny country in the very armpit of Africa, Equatorial Guinea is unknown to most Americans.   To thirsty men…Equatorial Guinea is seen oozing with that eloquent black nectar known as crude oil.  Ironically…oil not only fuels our cars…but our inner monsters as well…as Africans know.

Rape has been a long companion of decent societies…floating on the outskirts and hiding in the shadows.  This deplorable virtue is heroic in Africa.

The heroes of the Wonga Coup were greedy men who thrived on adventure and the promise of riches.  The easy buck goaded at them.  It drew Simon Mann (the main character) back from retirement…and along with him, hundreds of out of work mercenaries and information peddlers.

Simon Mann saw potential in Equatorial Guinea.  He planned to stage a coup…topple the evil dictator of the nation, and set up a puppet government.  This government would be legally inclinded to repay Mann for the services offered…leaving Mann in a very wealthy position.

The bulk of the book details (in an interesting and fast-paced narrative) Mann’s organization of the coup.  He rounds up partners and raises the money.  He plans out the details and arranges for mercenaries to carry out the coup as well as for weapons, transportation and a helicopter gunship for extra support.   (The helicopter was to be paid for by son of Margaret Thatcher, sir Mark Thatcher.)

Plans of his coup eventually leak out to the intelligence agencies of major nations like France, Spain, South Africa and America.  This doesn’t stop Mann however.  He reasoned that Macias Nguema (the president and genocidal maniac rulling Equatorial Guinea) wouldn’t be missed by these nations…and it seemed for awhile that he was right.  Mann’s coup would not be interfered with.

However, through various sorts of political twists and unfortunate events, Mann ends up being arrested on a runway in Zimbabwe just before initiating the coup.

This is a very exciting and fun read.  It gives an insightful look at the way politics work on an international level as well as provides new meaning to the term:  “Follow the money.”  In my opinion, the Wonga Coup demonstrates the attitude and thinking of international bankers and wealthy men.  They see governments as pawns in their game.  Nothing is out of the range of possibility for these people as long as money is involved.

This international attitidue of greed highlights a deeper problem in human nature…one that cannot be solved with diamonds, oil revenues or slavery.   Africa is especially sensitive to this problem.  She has been raped for hundreds of years.

When the only savior man knows requires bullets instead of loving petitions…then Christendom will know that a larger coup has been staged…though this one….like Mann’s…is doomed for failure.

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4 Responses to Book Review: The Wonga Coup

  1. Robert Fort says:

    A great review of what sounds like an interesting book. The dictator wanna-bee’s story is mentioned, I think, in Kevin Woods’ saga of imprisonment in Harare (The Kevin Woods Story).

    It would have been interesting to see if the UN would have tolerated that coup, should it had been successful. Back in the Sixties, the UN wouldn’t tolerate a Christian black man, Moshe Toshombe, as a ruler. There is black, and there is black. If Mann had talked the internationalist talk, he may have been tolerated.

  2. slamdunk says:

    Seems like an interesting book and you speak highly of it. Why did you only give it a 2.5 or did I miss something?

  3. shotgun says:

    Well…it was good…but not great. The author dosn’t draw the same conclusions about the coup that draw, and Mann is seen more as a cult hero than a greedy oportunist.

    Plus, it gets kind of mundane with all the logistical details.

  4. Brian Reyes says:

    One of the most interesting elements of this book for me was the fact that it was a re-run of previous, faied coup. I’m a journalist based in Gibraltar and following the leads in the book, I uncovered this interesting angle. Hope you like.

    http://www.lettersfromgib.com/2009/08/mercenary-plot.html

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