In the tradition of Robert Hughes’s THE FATAL SHORE, this is the extraordinary story of one of the world's most devastated countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo. 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.
'The English-speaking world has been impatiently awaiting this translation. 'Congo' is a remarkable piece of work. Van Reybrouck pulls off the tricky feat of keeping a panoramic history of a vast and complex nation accessible, intimate and particular. He does this by talking to the Congolese, who know their history better than anyone else.' Michela Wrong, author of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz 'A monumental history ... more exciting than any novel' NRC Handelsblad '[Van Reybrouck] has a beautiful feel for language ... his eye for the arresting human detail, combined with a wry appreciation for a peculiarly Congolese form of gumption, keeps you powering through this panoramic survey of 150 turbulent years ... Both intimate and immediate' Michela Wrong, Spectator