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.
'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
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.