Hailed as "a monumental history . . . more exciting than any novel" (NRC Handelsblad),David van Reybrouck’s rich and gripping epic, in the tradition of Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore, tells the extraordinary story of one of the world's most devastated countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Epic in scope yet eminently readable, penetrating and deeply moving, David van Reybrouck's Congo: The Epic History of a People traces the fate of one of the world's most critical, failed nation-states, second only to war-torn Somalia: the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Van Reybrouck takes us through several hundred years of history, bringing some of the most dramatic episodes in Congolese history. Here are the people and events that have impinged the Congo's development—from the slave trade to the ivory and rubber booms; from the arrival of Henry Morton Stanley to the tragic regime of King Leopold II; from global indignation to Belgian colonialism; from the struggle for independence to Mobutu's brutal rule; and from the world famous Rumble in the Jungle to the civil war over natural resources that began in 1996 and still rages today.
Van Reybrouck interweaves his own family's history with the voices of a diverse range of individuals—charismatic dictators, feuding warlords, child-soldiers, the elderly, female merchant smugglers, and many in the African diaspora of Europe and China—to offer a deeply humane approach to political history, focusing squarely on the Congolese perspective and returning a nation's history to its people.
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About the Author
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
15 COM 537
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fascinating story, well described as it is a very complicated History