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The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (African Arguments) Paperback – October 8, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1780323459 ISBN-10: 178032345X

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The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (African Arguments) + Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa + Congo: The Epic History of a People
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Product Details

  • Series: African Arguments
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178032345X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780323459
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A groundbreaking examination of one of Africa's most iconic and tragic countries and  a must-read for people interested in contemporary African politics in general and the Great Lakes Region in particular...I don't think I will put Deibert's work back on the bookshelf. I will keep it within reach on my desk. 

-Kris Berwouts, African Arguments

Anyone who, like me, is looking to gain a better understanding of this part of central Africa would do well to read journalist Michael Deibert's passionate dissection of the geographies of war and peace in the DRC...It is an essential read for those of us interested in wider postcolonial worlds and the historical fragments of local, regional and global contexts that intersect and link huge parts of the planet together.

-
Jonathan Silver, The London School of Economics

A grim and difficult book to read, despite the author's masterful reporting. It is painful because of the visceral attention and emotion his work demands. The tragic and depressing tale of Congo is steeped in the gruesome brutality and avarice of elite leaders-cum-plunderers. It is a story we must know...[The book] will captivate readers already familiar with the blood-soaked, resource-intense country, as well as those being introduced to the struggles facing the Congolese.

-Nomi Prins, Truthdig, author of All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power

Michael Deibert restores balance to analysis on the Congo with a holistic view grounded in history and the sociopolitical dynamics at play in the nation. A must-read book to understand the complexity of the crisis in the Congo.

- Kambale Musavuli, Congolese human rights activist and spokesperson for the Friends of the Congo, Washington DC

Deibert's book is a scrupulously researched reminder of how this corner of the world became so wretched, and of the multiple actors responsible: Congolese politicians and warlords, predatory neighbours, hypocritical western governments and a hapless UN...A book which should adorn the shelf of policymakers and analysts. For kleptocrats and meddlers, Congo, alas, remains open for business.

-The Guardian

'In this remarkable tour de force of reporting, analysis, historical inquiry, and personal experience, Michael Deibert delivers the story of Congo's bloody recent history in unflinching, often bitingly acerbic prose, setting forth in the clearest terms the causes, perpetrators, and disastrous effects of the seemingly endless Congo wars. Anyone searching for a genuine way forward for Congo needs to read this book.'

-Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award and finalist for National Book Award, and Brief Encounters With Che Guevara

'Nothing short of a tour de force of excruciating yet compassionate clarity through the political history and unspeakable violence and suffering of civilians in the lands of the Congo, this book is mandatory reading for anyone interested in building lasting peace in the heart of Africa. International donors who support governance and development in the DRC should pay close attention to Michael Deibert's compelling account.'

–Dr. Markus Schultze-Kraft, Governance Team Leader and Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom.

'This exhaustively researched history of Congo takes us from the dark days of Belgian conquest and tyranny to modern day atrocities carried out by warring militias and their legions of child soldiers. The promise driving the madness: abundant natural resources, from gold to diamonds to tantalum. Deibert lays bare complexities of power and he names names, not only those of the Congolese but also of world leaders who've either turned a blind eye to or directly fomented the misery of the Congolese people.'

-Gerry Hadden, author of Never The Hope Itself: Love and Ghosts in Latin America and Haiti

'Michael Deibert restores balance to analysis on the Congo with a holistic view grounded in history and the sociopolitical dynamics at play in the nation. A must-read book to understand the complexity of the crisis in the Congo.'

- Kambale Musavuli, Congolese human rights activist and spokesperson for the Friends of the Congo, Washington, DC

'Michael Deibert's work is the very model of what strong independent journalism can accomplish. His Congo book is no ordinary achievement. It bulges with both the grand sweep of history and a rich variety of voices gathered through enterprising, on the ground reporting.'

-Howard W. French, author of China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa, and Associate Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

'Michael Deibert has connected the thousands of threads linking the Democratic Republic of Congo's conflicts in a way that allows us to see the tattered fabric of this tragic country. Deibert writes with verve, clarity, passion, and obvious empathy for all of the peoples of the Great Lakes region, and his understanding of the regional and global contexts of the Congo wars is outstanding. His story-telling ability is unsurpassed, and even veteran observers of the region will be grateful for his marvelously distilled synthesis of the ordeals Congo has endured over the past 20 years.'

- John F. Clark, author of The Failure of Democracy in the Republic of Congo (2008)

'A comprehensive first-rate account of the tragedy of Congo DR: the human suffering, rape and plunder of its immense mineral wealth. Riveting and brutally honest'

- George Ayittey, author and president Free Africa Foundation, Washington, DC

About the Author

Michael Deibert is the author of Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (Zed Books, 2013), published in cooperation with the Royal African Society, the International African Institute and the World Peace Foundation. His first book, Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti (Seven Stories Press, 2005), was praised by The Miami Herald as "a powerfully documented exposé" and by the San Antonio Express-News as "a compelling mix of reportage, memoir and social criticism," and has since become required reading for diplomats and others seeking to understand that country's complex 1994-2004 era.

Michael's writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, Le Monde diplomatique, Folha de São Paulo, World Policy Journal, and The Huffington Post, among other venues. He has been a featured commentator on international affairs on the BBC, Al Jazeera, Channel 4, National Public Radio, WNYC New York Public Radio, and KPFK Pacifica Radio.

In 2012, he was awarded a grant from the International Peace Research Association, and in 2008 he was selected as a finalist for the Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism, sponsored by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, both in recognition of his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

More About the Author

Michael Deibert is the author of In the Shadow of Saint Death: The Gulf Cartel and the Price of America's Drug War in Mexico (Lyons Press, 2014), The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (Zed Books, 2013), published in cooperation with the Royal African Society, the International African Institute and the World Peace Foundation, and Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti (Seven Stories Press, 2005).

Michael's writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, Le Monde diplomatique, Folha de São Paulo, World Policy Journal, and The Huffington Post, among other venues. He has been a featured commentator on international affairs on the BBC, Al Jazeera, Channel 4, National Public Radio, WNYC New York Public Radio, and KPFK Pacifica Radio.

In 2012, he was awarded a grant from the International Peace Research Association, and in 2008 he was selected as a finalist for the Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism, sponsored by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, both in recognition of his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Michael's blog can be read at http://www.michaeldeibert.blogspot.com/ and he can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/michaelcdeibert.


Photo (C) Hilary Wallis

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Doherty on October 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
Michael Deibert has undertaken the gargantuan task of unraveling the tangled web of players and perpetrators in the DRC. There is one constant throughout the shifting alliances and rhetoric detailed in this book: lust for control and money always trumps the most basic right to life. Unlike many conflicts of this nature, the Congolese people are not pawns in this vicious game; they are incidental and disposable which makes the crime even more profound and evil.
Mr. Deibert does not make an emotional appeal to his readers. Rather he forces you to confront meticulously detailed (and footnoted) facts. As a primer, he provides a brief history of the DRC that sets the stage for what has become one of the largest killing fields in the world. Ground truth exposes that all the key players in the never-ending "peace process" either have a vested interest in promoting conflict or lack interest in dealing with the true causes of the suffering. The United Nations, ICC and the Clinton administration are shown to have lacked any conviction or moral compass. Each of these groups function in the murky shadows of political expedience and demonstrate their mastery of giving the appearance of doing something when actually doing nothing (or worse). Museveni, Kabila and Kagame waver between competition and collaboration in an effort to gain control over valuable swaths of the DRC's abundant natural resources. The covers are finally pulled back on the lie that is Paul Kagame. He is neither democratic nor morally grounded. Like so many despots in the developing world, he has packaged his particular brand of evil in a persona that appeals to the more shallow senses and sensibilities of the United States and European countries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Christopher on August 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Deibert does the nearly impossible task of clearly defining the players and their roles in the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo from the days prior to Belgian rule up to 2013. This feat alone is highly impressive. For the unfamiliar, it proves to be a bit difficult keeping track of who's in conflict with whom, but it definitely accomplishes the overall goal of explaining one of our generation's greatly overlooked (in the West) tragedies. What I took away from this book is a story that could be told about any place in the world - a brutal struggle for power and control of wealth and resources, with those blessed to dwell in such lands finding their blessings to be a curse at the hands of those who foster the worst in mankind (the greedy). I highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in Africa, or anyone with an interest in a clear case study in greed and those who suffer as a result of it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Lamont on March 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is The best book I have read that explains the complexities of DRC's history and current state. A must read.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Johnson on November 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair, and found it to be an excellent account of the complexities of the war(s) in Congo. I have become involved in mission work in the Kasai over the past few years, making several trips to Congo. I have attempted to educate myself on the history of Congo, and came away with lots of questions. I found that this book was very effective in answering those questions.

By the way, I don't believe a better photo could have been used for the cover. On my first trip to Congo, I had the opportunity to attend a rehearsal of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, and there is little doubt that it is a symbol of hope in a very difficult place.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By France Kassing on December 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Not only will this book assist you in gaining an understanding of the scope and intricacy of strife in the Congo, it will provide you with the knowledge to see through the self-serving statements made by politicians on every side. You will also be reminded that many people have the capacity for horrific crimes, or for the blanket approval of those crimes. Ultimately, you will be in awe of the human capacity for survival. Throughout, Michael Deibert invites you to savor the warm winds and lush countryside. His words will spark your imagination even as you learn about man's inhumanity. We should all be very grateful to this intrepid journalist and author. He dares to delve into a complex and dangerous region to bring us important facts and perspective.
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