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King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
Adam Hochschild
0618001905
September 1999
Paperback
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Book Review
King Leopold of Belgium, writes historian Adam Hochschild in this grim history, did not much care for his native land or his subjects, all of which he dismissed as "small country, small people." Even so, he searched the globe to find a colony for Belgium, frantic that the scramble of other European powers for overseas dominions in Africa and Asia would leave nothing for himself or his people. When he eventually found a suitable location in what would become the Belgian Congo, later known as Zaire and now simply as Congo, Leopold set about establishing a rule of terror that would culminate in the deaths of 4 to 8 million indigenous people, "a death toll," Hochschild writes, "of Holocaust dimensions." Those who survived went to work mining ore or harvesting rubber, yielding a fortune for the Belgian king, who salted away...


The Irish Army In The Congo, 1960-1964
David O'Donoghue
0716528185
Nov 2005
Hardcover
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Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa
Howard W. French
1400030277
April 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Although both tragedy and hope are mentioned in the subtitle, this work of reportage on Africa focuses more on the former than the latter. French was first captivated by Africa after college, in 1980, when he joined his parents and siblings in Ivory Coast. Taken by the pride and beauty he found on the continent, he became a journalist there, eventually serving as a bureau chief for the New York Times. His strength as a reporter is evident as he takes the reader across the continent, recounting in vivid detail the genocide in Rwanda and the AIDS and Ebola outbreaks. His prose is evocative without being melodramatic in describing the suffering he saw. The "powerful and eerily rhythmic" wailing of those who had lost loved ones to the Ebola virus "was painful to hear, and clearly bespoke of the recent or imminent...


The Poisonwood Bible (Oprah's Book Club)
Barbara Kingsolver
0060930535


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Book Review
Oprah Book Club® Selection, June 2000: As any reader of The Mosquito Coast knows, men who drag their families to far-off climes in pursuit of an Idea seldom come to any good, while those familiar with At Play in the Fields of the Lord or Kalimantaan understand that the minute a missionary sets foot on the fictional stage, all hell is about to break loose. So when Barbara Kingsolver sends missionary Nathan Price along with his wife and four daughters off to Africa in The Poisonwood Bible, you can be sure that salvation is the one thing they're not likely to find. The year is 1959 and the place is the Belgian Congo. Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. To say that he and his family are woefully unprepared would be an understatement: "We came from...


New Breed
W. E. B. Griffin
0515092266
July 1988
Mass Market Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Griffin already has a high profile in Berkley paperback; his six-volume Brotherhood of War saga, a Green Beret epic spanning WW II to Richard Nixon's presidency, has more than three million copies in print. With The New Breed, the series segues into hardcover, but this is not so much a sequel as a lengthy missing chapter from volume six. In late 1963, Col. Sandy Felter, formerly JFK's private Ollie North, returns from secret missions to Vietnam and the Congo and persuades new president LBJ that the Congo is as volatile as Southeast Asia. Felter's longtime friend, Manhattan banking scion Lt. Col. Craig Lowell, helps secure a crew that can combat any rebellion. Among the cast of characters: Jack Portet, an Army private who grew up flying planes in the Congo; Marjorie Bellmon, an officer's daughter for whom Jack...


The Troubled Heart of Africa: A History of the Congo
Robert Edgerton
0312304862
December 1, 2002
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
During the past few years, the Congo, long exploited for its natural resources and among the most corrupt countries in Africa, has been explored by a number of authors. Most of these books have been journalistic accounts, but Edgerton offers a historical narrative of a country ravaged by colonial exploitation and the corrupt rule of a native despot. His story is familiar, but it is told accurately and well, from the arrival of Portuguese explorers in the 16th century through the recent, brief rule of Laurent Kabila. The author doesn't neglect the detrimental role played by the West: the rule of Belgium's King Leopold symbolized the worst of colonial exploitation. But Edgerton (The Fall of the Asante Empire), a professor of psychiatry at UCLA, refrains from turning this into an anti-West morality tale. He shows...


In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo
Michela Wrong
0060934433
June 2002
Paperback
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Book Review's Best of 2001
During Mobutu Sese Seko's 30 years as president of Zaire (now the Congo), he managed to plunder his nation's economy and live a life of excess unparalleled in modern history. A foreign correspondent in Zaire for six years, Michela Wrong has plenty of titillating stories to tell about Mobutu's excesses, such as the Versailles-like palace he built in the jungle, or his insistence that he needed $10 million a month to live on. However, these are not the stories that most interest Wrong. Her aim is to understand all of the reasons behind the economic disintegration of the most mineral-rich country on the African continent; in so doing, she turns over the mammoth rock that was Mobutu and finds a seething underworld of parasites with names like the CIA, the World Bank and the IMF, the French and Belgian governments,...


Surviving the Slaughter : The Ordeal of a Rwandan Refugee in Zaire (Women in Africa and the Diaspora)
Marie Beatrice Umutesi
0299204944
October 5, 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
"I have been through Hell, have known horror, and now that I have escaped... I give testimony to what I have seen." So begins Umutesi's personal account of the bloody ethnic confrontations between Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda and neighboring Zaire, culminating in the 1994 slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutus. A Hutu often "taken for a Tutsi," sociologist Umutesi fled to Zaire in 1994 and spent two years in the refugee camps, witnessing the destruction of the camps and the subsequent ethnic massacres of Hutu refugees by Rwandan soldiers and Zairian rebels. Her tone encompasses both a sociologist's objectivity and a sufferer's anguish, describing malnutrition and famine, cholera and dysentery, panic and brutality. There were two genocides, this book argues, with barbaric acts committed by and against Hutus and...


Forest People
Colin M. Turnbull
0671640992
July 1987
Paperback
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Review
Margaret Mead Adds an entirely new dimension to literature on primitive people. The book is constructed with great dexterity, so that the reader is carried along by the charm and movement of the narrative, almost unaware of the underpinning of arduous scientific field work that lies like bedrock below....The reader feels sheer delight in an entirely new world.
From the Foreword by Harry L. Shapiro Department of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History The book is exceptional....The reader can enter into...the exhilaration of participating in a culture other than his own....Reading The Forest People is an unusual and satisfying experience.

Review
Margaret Mead Adds an entirely new dimension to literature on primitive people. The book is constructed with great dexterity,...


Reinventing Order in the Congo : How People Respond to State Failure in Kinshasa
Theodore Trefon (Editor)
1842774913
March 16, 2005
Paperback
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Book Description
The populations of many Third World mega-cities have far outstripped any apparent economic basis for their size and survival. In this volume Congolese and Western social scientists cover most aspects of urban life in Kinshasa--how ordinary people hustle for a modest living; the famous "bargaining" system ordinary Kinois have developed; and how they access food, water supplies, health and education. The NGOization of service provision is analyzed, as is the quite rare incidence of urban riots. Equally interesting are the studies of popular discourses (including street rumor, witchcraft, and attitudes to big men, like musicians and preachers). The studies are full of the most startling facts and the wonderfully evocative phrases coined by ordinary Kinois as they confront the huge obstacle course that is urban life....


The Catastrophist
Ronan Bennett
0641509693

Hardcover
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The African Dream: The diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo
Aleida Guevara March (Foreword), et al
0802138349
October 7, 2001
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
"This is the history of a failure." With these words, Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary and leftist icon killed in Bolivia in 1967, launches into a brutally honest account of Cuba's disastrous 1965 intervention in Congo. Guevara traveled to Congo to foment a Communist revolution in a country that then as now was in a state of anarchy. But as he readily admits, he was unable to mobilize his Cuban forces and Congolese allies into a cohesive force. Much of the blame he lays at the feet of the Congolese, "the poorest example of a fighter that I have ever come across to now." But Guevara's ruminations about the frustrations of his insurgency are only part of these "war diaries." Guevara's correspondence with Congolese guerrilla leaders is also included, as are his often negative comments on these leaders. Throughout,...


Democratic Republic of the Congo
Terri Willis
0516242504
March 2004
Library Binding
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From Booklist
Reviewed with JoAnn Milivojevic's Bosnia and Herzegovina.Gr. 4-6. Finely attuned to any number of conventional "country" assignment, these entries in the second Enchantment of the World series offer lucid commentary, digestible quantities of facts and statistics, eye-catching color photos, and eminently useful back matter. Both are similarly structured, with topical chapters presented in the same order, sandwiched between a tantalizing overview, and upbeat but not idealized closing insights into patterns of daily life in their respective lands. Thoughtful readers will be struck by the contrast between the authors' sometimes hard-hitting accounts of the devastating wars that have swept through each country and the brighter impressions conveyed in the photos (even scenes of land-mine removal in Bosnia and...


The Catastrophist : A Novel
Ronan Bennett
0684870363


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Book Review
Perhaps it takes a writer with Ronan Bennett's peculiar personal history to write so compelling a novel about the place where politics and art intersect. By the time he was 23, Bennett, an Irish Catholic from Northern Ireland, had already spent five years in and out of various jails, charged with politically motivated crimes he'd never committed. He then traded in prison walls for the rarified halls of academia, studying for a Ph.D. in history before embarking on a new career as a fiction writer. Though at first The Catastrophist, set in the Congo during its bid for independence from Belgium, may seem a far cry from Belfast in the '70s, Bennett uses his hard-won wisdom to examine the role of the artist in a political conflict.

James Gillespie, a disillusioned Irish historian turned novelist, has arrived in the Congo on...



Democratic Republic of the Congo
Nina Kushner
0836823303
January 2001
Hardcover
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The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People's History
Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja
1842770535
May 3, 2002
Paperback
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Review
"Authoritative books in English on the Congo are scarce, so this work by a leading Congolese academic is welcome."--Gail M. Gerhart, Foreign Affairs 3-4/01/03

"Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja is one among those very few intellectuals who possesses the background, the knowledge, the commitment and the vantage point from which to assess the historical possibilities for contemporary Congo." --Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government, Columbia University

"This book could not be more timely. It throws new light on the past struggle for democracy in the Congo while indicating possible directions for the future." --Mbaya Kankwenda, UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria


Democratic Republic of Congo: Economic Dimensions of War and Peace
Michael Nest (Editor)
1588262332
November 2005
Paperback
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The Assassination of Lumumba
Ludo De Witte, et al
1859844103
January 2003
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
In January 1961, seven months after Congo won independence from Belgium, the country's first elected head of state, Patrice Lumumba, was killed in the secessionist province of Katanga because of fears that he would ally himself with Russia and nationalize Belgian corporate interests in Congo. Using U.N. and Belgian foreign ministry archives, De Witte, a sociologist whose book, when published in Belgium, led to an official inquiry into the assassination, offers evidence that the Belgian government was directly involved in Lumumba's transfer to Katanga a copper-rich state under Belgian control and in his execution. De Witte points, for instance, to an October 1960 telegram, signed by the Belgian Minister of African Affairs, that called for the "‚limination d‚finitive" of Lumumba. The African leader was,...


A Colonial Lexicon of Birth Ritual, Medicalization, and Mobility in the Congo (Body, Commodity, Text)
Nancy Rose Hunt
0822323664
October 1999
Paperback
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Book Description
A Colonial Lexicon is the first historical investigation of how childbirth became medicalized in Africa. Rejecting the “colonial encounter” paradigm pervasive in current studies, Nancy Rose Hunt elegantly weaves together stories about autopsies and bicycles, obstetric surgery and male initiation, to reveal how concerns about strange new objects and procedures fashioned the hybrid social world of colonialism and its aftermath in Mobutu’s Zaire. Relying on archival research in England and Belgium, as well as fieldwork in the Congo, Hunt reconstructs an ethnographic history of a remote British Baptist mission struggling to survive under the successive regimes of King Leopold II’s Congo Free State, the hyper-hygienic, pronatalist Belgian Congo, and Mobutu’s Zaire. After exploring the roots of...


The History of Congo
Didier Gondola
0313316961
December 2002
Hardcover
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Review
“Gondola's broad, wide-ranging, and well-documented volume, written clearly and from the perspective of the Congolese people, includes many useful features: current and former names of places, a time line of historical events, biographical notes on Congo's most notable leaders, and a chapter-by-chapter annotated bibliography....[a]n ideal introduction to the study of Congo and an extremely valuable research instrument for anyone interested in the tragic history of this country.”–African Studies Review
“Drawing on the work of well-established scholars, Gondola surveys the story of the Congo from earliest prehistoric times until the very recent past. No other book offers such a comprehensive summary.”–The Historian
“An accessible and up to date history of the Congo from earliest...

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