Summer reads: the Portuguese who chose exile over Salazar’s colonial war


Between 1961 and 1974, an estimated 200,000 young Portuguese fled abroad to escape their call-up to fight in their country’s bloody colonial war in Africa, while around 8,000 serving soldiers, according to some historians, deserted. As part of a summer series in which Mediapart journalists highlight those books published in France over the last 12 months which have particularly caught their eye, Mickaël Correia presents Exils, a compilation of first-hand accounts of draft evaders and deserters who defied Portugal’s dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, and who by doing so were forced into a clandestine and precarious existence far from home.

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Appearing on television on April 13th 1961, Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, who came to power in 1932, infamously declared: “To Angola, rapidly and in force!”