Cuba has lots of touchy subjects, and Angola is one of them. Foreign policy scholars, political leaders, trova singers, and filmmakers have debated Cuba's Angola experience, often bitterly. So too of course have the 25,000 veterans and the survivors of thousands of deceased soldiers. Cuba's decision to send troops has been hailed as the blow that brought an end to South African apartheid and has been condemned as yet another example of its status as hapless Soviet puppet.

Wandering into this thicket is not something to be undertaken lightly. Literary scholar Christabelle Peters attempts to apply insights from recent encounters between cultural studies and political science to explore the Angola story from a different perspective. Fueled by the conviction that visual images, metaphors, and cultural narratives matter in relations between states, Peters's book explores both the African presence in Cuban society and...

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