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Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

by Jason Stearns - £13.99  The Perseus Books Group (2012)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9781610391078 | ISBN 10: 1610391071

This critically-acclaimed book provides an unprecedented, up-close portrait of Africa's Great War. At the heart of Africa is the Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, bordering nine other nations, that since 1996 has been wracked by a brutal and unstaunchable war in which millions have died. It has become Africa's Great War. Despite its epic proportions, the war has received little sustained attention from the rest of the world. How do you cover a war that has involved at least twenty different rebel groups and nine government armies yet seems to have no clear cause or objective? How do you put a human face on vast numbers of casualties most of whom perished in remote mountain towns and villages? The New York Times gave Darfur nearly four times the coverage it gave the Congo in 2006, while Congolese were dying at nearly ten times the rate.
 
In Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, veteran political activist and journalist Jason K.Stearns has written a compelling, personal, and deeply reported narrative of how Congo became a failed state that, rocked by violence arising from the aftermath of the genocide in neighboring Rwanda, collapsed into a war of retaliatory massacres of extraordinary brutality. Stearns brilliantly describes the key perpetrators, many of whom he met personally, and high-lights the nature of the political system that brought these people to power, as well as the moral decisions with which the war confronted them.
 
As a Congolese friend and parliamentarian told him: "In the Congo, in order to survive, we all have to be a bit corrupt, a bit ruthless. That's the system here. That's just the reality of things. If you don't bribe a bit and play to people's prejudices, someone else who does will replace you".

(Price & availability last checked: July 2019)

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In booklists: Congo / Zaire, Experiences of War - Journalists, Writers and Photographers,
In categories: World - Africa, Media & Culture, Peace & Human Rights,

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