The Wonga Coup: A Tale of Guns, Germs and the Steely Determination to Create Mayhem in an Oil-Rich Corner of Africa

Overview

"Old-fashioned colonial arrogance and newly minted corporate greed collide in The Wonga Coup, the story of the plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea, a tiny African nation roughly the size of Maryland. Humid, jungle-covered, and rife with unpleasant diseases, even some in the region call it "Devil Island." Its president in 2004, the year of the coup plot, was a man accused of cannibalism, witchcraft, mass murder, billion-dollar corruption, and general rule by terror. With so little on the surface to recommend it, why was it the
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Overview

"Old-fashioned colonial arrogance and newly minted corporate greed collide in The Wonga Coup, the story of the plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea, a tiny African nation roughly the size of Maryland. Humid, jungle-covered, and rife with unpleasant diseases, even some in the region call it "Devil Island." Its president in 2004, the year of the coup plot, was a man accused of cannibalism, witchcraft, mass murder, billion-dollar corruption, and general rule by terror. With so little on the surface to recommend it, why was it the target of a gaggle of battle-hardened mercenaries, traveling on an American-registered plane, flown originally by American pilots, adapted for military purposes and previously used by the National Guard? The motive lay beneath the sea bed: oil. Lots of it, perhaps as much as in Nigeria or Angola." "The Wonga Coup plotters were inspired by Frederick Forsyth's The Dogs of War, a novel written in 1973 that handily, and not at all coincidentally, describes how to overthrow the government of a country all but identical to Equatorial Guinea. Real life, though, trumps fiction, as the plot in 2004 ensnares a British prime minister's son, the Spanish government, a major Washington, D.C. bank, and an old Etonian mercenary determined to go out with one final, spectacularly greedy act of international piracy." The Wonga Coup is adventurism run riot, in which antique colonial attitudes are resurrected by wealthy prospectors keen to fight a small private war for profit. It proves, if proof were needed again, that while it is power that corrupts, it is oil that corrupts absolutely.

RunTime: 9 hrs, 1 CD. * Mp3 CD Format *. With a cast of characters worthy of a remake of "Wild Geese" and a plot as mazy as it was unlikely, "The Wonga Coup" is a tale of venality, overarching vanity and greed whose example speaks to the problems of the entire African continent. .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The most terrifying thing about this chronicle of a failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea is that it's not a Graham Greene novel but a true story. Roberts, an Economist staffer, chronicles the plot by foreign mercenaries and merchants to topple the country's brutal dictatorship solely for the "wonga" (British slang for "money, usually a lot of it"). An irresistibly lurid tale is peopled with bellicose profiteers, particularly of the neocolonialist sort from Europe and South Africa, with long histories of investment in oil, diamonds and war-for-profit. Among these self-styled gentleman adventurers are Margaret Thatcher's son, Sir Mark Thatcher, and "rag-and-bone intelligence men" who linger in hotel bars, "picking up scraps of information... selling them on to willing buyers, whether corporate or government." The audacity of the coup's planners is almost admirable, though Roberts rightly chastises them for their oil-soaked greed. As he lifts the curtain to the backrooms of power in postcolonial Africa, the reader finds that not much has changed on the continent since 1618, when the "Company of Adventurers of London Trading to the Ports of Africa" became the first private company to colonize Africa for profit. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400152902
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Adam Roberts is Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Simon Vance has recorded over four hundred audiobooks and has earned over twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for his narration of Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini. He is also the recipient of five coveted Audie Awards, including one for The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, and he was named an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009.

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