This volume has been written at a time when Mozambique is coming to the end of its second decade of independence and there are signs that the debilitating South African-backed rural insurgency may at last be on the wane. The bulk of the literature on the country has been concerned to promote causes rather than face realities. However, the much greater openness of Mozambican society and the Mozambican government in recent years, as well as the appearance of new research, makes it possible to attempt a reinterpretation of events. This analysis of the post-independence period sets out to challenge much of the conventional wisdom. In particular, it suggests that the significance of the liberated zones was greatly exaggerated by Frelimo and its sympathizers in order to give the regime ideological respectability.