Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (African Arguments)
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Customer Reviews

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on October 21, 2013
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.
The story of the oxymoronically-named Democratic Republic of the Congo needs to be told; it needs to be heard; it needs to motivate us to act. Mr. Deibert has made many of the gruesome details and history of this country accessible to us. The victims now have a voice.
As a secondary comment, Mr Deibert touches on how Belgium established the foundation for human rights abuses that have become the norm in the DRC. Upon finishing his book, I would encourage the interested reader to pick up a copy of Adam Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost" for a more comprehensive overview of the Belgian "contributions" to the DRC.
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on March 14, 2015
This is a well written account of the recent Congo wars and endless conflicts. This is not an easy subject indeed, and it was good to have it all described in one place, and Diebert certainly knows the area. I did finish it although I found it heavy going. So many characters, so many factions, so many unfamiliar names - there are four pages of acronyms. I could not keep it all straight and found myself frequently going to Wikipedia for simple clarity and summaries, and glazing over pages of detail The book has only two maps at the start (in the Kindle edition anyway) and no photographs. It would have helped a lot to have had specific maps of the various subject areas, and photos of the principals.
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on February 28, 2016
This is a very well written book and has a nice flow to it. It is highly informative and the writer gives some meaning and understanding to the extremely complex socio-political make-up of Congo DR. Having been there twice, I can say this book gives me a clearer picture of Congo DR.
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on August 24, 2014
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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on September 29, 2015
Michael Deibert’s book is a remarkable detailed both historic and contemporary tour de force of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It shows in-depth knowledge, not only of the country but of the region; and also importantly where the DRC sits in the global context and on the international agenda. It has a level of detail that is rare, founded on solid researched that could only be accomplished through spending significant amounts of time in-country.
Untangling the web of actors, identifying their roles and how they relate is a huge task in a complex context such as the DRC – and this book does it excellently. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the country or the region.
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on November 13, 2013
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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on December 9, 2013
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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on March 29, 2014
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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on October 19, 2014
very good interesting read
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