From the beginnings of the slave trade through colonization, the struggle for independence, Mobutu's brutal three decades of rule, and the civil war that has raged from 1996 to the present day, Congo: The Epic History of a People traces the history of one of the most devastated nations in the world. Esteemed scholar David Van Reybrouck balances hundreds of interviews with a diverse range of Congolese with meticulous historical research to construct a multidimensional portrait of a nation and its people.
Epic in scope yet eminently readable, both penetrating and deeply moving, Congo—a finalist for the Cundill Prize—takes a deeply humane approach to political history, focusing squarely on the Congolese perspective, and returns a nation's history to its people.
David Van Reybrouck is an award-winning author, acclaimed playwright, reporter, and poet who holds a doctorate from Leiden University. He has traveled extensively throughout Africa and has been actively involved in organizing literary workshops for young Congolese writers. He lives in Brussels.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations xiii
1 New Spirits: Central Africa Draws the Attention of East and West 1870-1885 29
2 "Diabolical Filth": Congo Under Leopold II 1885-1908 57
3 The Belgians Set Us Free: The Early Years of the Colonial Regime 1908-1921 101
4 In the Stranglehold of Fear: Growing Unrest and Mutual Suspicion in Peacetime 1921-1940 141
5 The Red Hour of the Kickoff: The War and the Deceptive Calm That Followed 1940-1955 181
6 Soon to be Ours: A Belated Decolonization, a Sudden Independence 1955-1960 227
7 A Thursday in June 267
8 The Struggle for the Throne: The Turbulent Years of the First Republic 1960-1965 281
9 The Electric Years: Mobutu Gets Down to Business 1965-1975 331
10 Toujours Servir: A Marshal's Madness 1975-1990 363
11 The Death Throes: Democratic Opposition and Military Confrontation 1990-1997 395
12 Compassion, What is That?: The Great War of Africa 1997-2002 433
13 La Biere Et La Prière (Suds and Sanctity): New Players in a Wasted Land 2002-2006 463
14 The Recess: Hope and Despair in a Newborn Democracy 2006-2010 499
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