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Congo by David Van Reybrouck
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Congo (2010)

by David Van Reybrouck

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3831428,125 (4.19)8
Recently added byMarc349, private library, TWC_Library, diana.n, tjaddington
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For someone like me, who knew virtually nothing about Congo, this book is a goldmine. Van Reybrouck manages to take the reader on a journey through more than 120 years of history, not only by giving information and numbers, but also, and mainly, by telling stories and describing personal experiences. He understands the art to summarize his thoughts whenever necessary, so that you never lose track of what's happening, despite the myriad of protagonists and places.

Unfortunately, when reaching the end of Mobutu's reign, the quality of the book drops significantly when Van Reybrouck tries to describe everything that's happened during the traumatic years 1990-2006. He sometimes gets lost in the acronyms of all the different rebel alliances, and the names of all the different rebel leaders. Maybe this should have been kept for a different book entirely. Although I must add, the final chapters, about the years following 2006, are captivating again. In all, a very mind-broadening experience from the first until the very last page! ( )
1 vote Differenti | Jan 24, 2014 |
Recommended for anyone trying to understand a bit the situation in Congo today and in the past and how it is possible that a rich area is in such a terrible state. I would compare it with the books of Leon Uris on the Palestine - Israeli situation. ( )
1 vote hste2011 | Dec 1, 2011 |
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Epigraph
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
'Le Rêve et l'Ombre étaient de très grands camarades.'
Badibanga, L'éléphant qui marche sur des oeufs
Bruxelles, 1931
Dedication
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Het is nog steeds de zee, uiteraard, maar je ziet dat er iets is veranderd, iets aan de kleur.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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original title: Congo, subtitle Een geschiedenis
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Book description
Bij vlagen briljant boek over treurige geschiedenis van het Congo. Mengeling serieuze geschiedschrijving (notenapparaat), oral history en journalistiek. Jammer dat er geen foto's in het boek zijn opgenomen (is bewuste keuze, maar toch).
Het zojuist verschenen boek Congo van David van Reybrouck heeft veel lof ontvangen in de pers. Van Reybrouck beschrijft hierin voor het eerst de verbijsterende geschiedenis van Congo, van ruim voor de komst van de ontdekkingsreiziger Stanley tot en met de invloed van China in de laatste tien jaar en de recente economische crisis. Van Reybrouck baseert zich niet alleen op zeldzaam archiefmateriaal en baanbrekend onderzoek, maar vooral ook op honderden gesprekken die hij met Congolezen voerde. Zijn ooggetuigen gaan van eeuwlingen tot kindsoldaten, van rebellenleiders tot smokkelaars, van ministers tot maniokverkoopsters. Hun verhalen heeft de auteur in zijn grote geschiedenis geïntegreerd.

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Epic in scope and deeply moving, CONGO 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. David 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.… (more)

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