Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa Paperback – Mar 27 2012
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[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 timesas 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 everyonevillagers, child soldiers, Mobutu's commanders, Kabila's ministers, Rwandan intelligence officers. In these conversations he found gold, bringing clarityand humanityto 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 conflictfrom 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
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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.