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Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa Paperback – Mar 27 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa
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  • King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
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  • Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; Reprint edition (March 27 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781610391078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610391078
  • ASIN: 1610391071
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

“The best account [of the conflict in the Congo] so far….The task facing anyone who tries to tell this whole story is formidable, but Stearns by and large rises to it.” —Adam Hochschild, New York Times Book Review

“[A] tour de force, though not for the squeamish.” —Washington Post

“This is a serious book about the social and political forces behind one of the most violent clashes of modern times—as well as a damn good read.” —Economist

“[P]erhaps the best account of the most recent conflict in the Congo.” —Foreign Policy

“A serious, admirably balanced account of the crisis and the political and social forces behind it… perhaps the most accessible, meticulously researched, and comprehensive overview of the Congo crisis yet.” —Financial Times

“Impressively controlled account of the devastating Congo war…The book’s greatest strength is the eyewitness dialogue; Stearns discusses his encounters with everyone from major military figures to residents of remote villages (he was occasionally suspected of being a CIA spy)…An important examination of a social disaster that seems both politically complex and cruelly senseless.”-Kirkus

“Covering the devastating effects of these deadly contests on the Congolese infrastructure, Congolese institutions, and people’s lives, Stearns informatively reports on affairs for students of African politics.”Booklist
 
“He is a cracking writer, with a wry sense of understatement…Mr. Stearns has spoken to everyone—villagers, child soldiers, Mobutu's commanders, Kabila's ministers, Rwandan intelligence officers. In these conversations he found gold, bringing clarity—and humanity—to a place that usually seems inexplicable and barbaric. ‘Dancing in the Glory of Monsters’ is riveting and certain to become essential reading for anyone looking to understand Central Africa.” -Wall Street Journal
 
“Stearns is more concerned with the perceptions, motivations, an actions of an eclectic mix of actors in the conflict—from a Tutsi warlord who engaged in massive human rights violations to a Hutu activist turned refugee living in the camps and forests of eastern Congo.  He tells their stories with a judicious mix of empathy and distance, linking them to a broader narrative of a two-decade-long conflict that has involved a dozen countries and claimed six million victims.”-Foreign Affairs
 
“Stearns is a leading authority on the region, having lived there for years working for the United Nations and the International Crisis Group. He has built up a superb knowledge of Congo and how it articulates with its neighbours, particularly Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. He frequently imparts his understanding to journalists far less well-informed than he. And now he has produced a book where he makes the whole convoluted and confusing war in Congo a little more comprehensible, which is quite a feat. If you want to understand modern Congo then Stearns’ book should be required reading.”-Global Post
 
“A brave and accessible take on the leviathan at the heart of so many of Africa’s problems… Stearns’s eye for detail, culled from countless interviews, brings this book alive… I once wrote that the Congo suffers from ‘a lack of institutional memory’, meaning that its atrocities well so inexorably that nobody bothers to keep an account of them. Stearns’s book goes a long way to putting that right.”Telegraph,

“(t)his courageous book is a plea for more nuanced understanding and the silencing of the analysis-free ‘the horror, the horror’ exclamation that Congo still routinely wrings from Western lips.” -The Spectator,

“Stearns has done a fine job of amassing vast amounts (of material), much of it based directly on interviews with the participants and victims, to bring to light details of a scandalously under-reported war… (T)his book succeeds in providing a vivid chronicles of this rolling conflict involving 20 rival rebel groups."-Sunday Times

“a vivid chronicle of the carnage that helps illuminate a tragedy too enormous to comprehend” -The Shepherd Express

About the Author

Jason Stearns has been working on the conflict in the Congo for the past decade, most recently as the head of a special United Nations panel investigating Congolese rebel groups. He worked for the United Nations peacekeeping operation, and as a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group. He is currently completing a PhD at Yale University.


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The nature of the 1st and 2nd Congo wars is a confusing and complex affair. But Jason Stearns does a fantastic job of conveying this recent history of Central Africa. He keeps all of his information relevant in terms of the events he describes and the people he introduces. In the end it does come across as cohesive, coherent and comprehensive. He gives the reader a full appreciation of the chaotic nature of this conflict without abandoning us to it's overwhelming complexity.

He may be somewhat reserved in terms of offering overall themes, and at times I think he tries to reserve his own judgements about certain actors and their actions. It allows the reader to form their own opinions and attempt to put whatever kind of meaning they can on the whole quagmire.

The history of this episode is very significant in terms of the amount of people involved and the catastrophic proportions of what took place. Finally, this book allows the unfamiliar layman to digest the totality of what took place in those conflicts. In the context of this book, the world can begin to shine some light on the reality of the present situation and how it became this way.
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If this topic interests you, it is a very readable book.
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great
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Great.
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Interesting book
I will give 3
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