The Troubled Heart of Africa
A History of the Congo(amazon)
Robert B. Edgerton (View Bio)
Paperback: 1994; Hardcover: St. Martin's Press, 2002.
"Without a doubt one of the most troubled regions in Africa, the Congo has a complex, often disturbing history.... An engrossing albeit tragic history." — Booklist
"The violent, heartrending history of the beautiful central African country variously names the Belgian Congo, Zaire, and, most recently, the Congo is explored in detail in this excellent volume by Edgerton." — Library Journal
"THE TROUBLED HEART OF AFRICA...[is] about the part of the world that the narrator in Joseph Conrad's 1902 novella 'Heart of Darkness' characterized succinctly in the phrase 'The horror! The horror!' That part is the Congo, the vast area of equatorial Africa that contains great mountains, immense jungles, the mighty Congo River, huge deposits of valuable minerals and people of numerous ethnic groups and languages who have been enslaved, tortured and exploited by European imperialists and their own rulers from the 15th century to the present day.... 'For the Congolese people, independence has meant tyranny, corruptions, police brutality, hunger, malnutrition and an ever-shorter life expectancy,' Edgerton writes. 'That people should suffer so terribly for so long is truly tragic, and no end is in sight.'" — Los Angeles Times
"Robert B. Edgerton is the latest to explore human suffering in the Congo, drawing from a colorful dramatis personae — the king of the Bakongo, dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, current president Joseph Kabila, missionaries, mercenaries, explorers, Arab slavers, and diplomats. THE TROUBLED HEART OF AFRICA is Congo 101, a survey of the past and a prediction of what coming years might hold for the 50 million inhabitants of the largest — and potentially richest — country in Africa. The book fills some historical gaps left by other recent offerings about the coeur d'afrique.... The story of the Congo reads as a troubling collage of brutality, cannibalism, greed, racism, and war, punctuated by rare acts of heroism." — The Village Voice