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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Writing, March 14, 2009
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This review is from: Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe (Hardcover)
I would not have bothered to review this except to counter the incredibly negative and unfair reviews already posted. First off, he is a wonderful writer, clear, concise with a great flow that clearly tells the story. To get the background for this book, you really should read his book on the Rwandan genocide. The negative reviewers stated that he created stories of evil U.S. conspiracies against poor Africans. This makes me wonder if they have even read the book as he does the exact opposite. He states how the French saw aspects of the war as a U.S. conspiracy and then refutes these charges over many pages. This brings me to the real problem. In his last book on Rwanda, he was very supportive of the RPF and Kagame. In this book after years of their rule and subsequent bad behavior, he has become disillusioned with them. This is obviously intolerable to their steadfast supporters, hence the bad reviews.
P.S. I'm sure someone will come back and say I must be some genocidal Hutu supporter. This is the equivalent of saying that if you didn't blindly support Stalin, you must have been pro-Hitler.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 4, 2011 6:42:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2011 9:34:08 PM PDT
Taylor Rand says:
While I think the book is an important work and, as far as I know, fair and objective, I have to say that the density of the author's details makes reading the book fairly slow. I don't know how anyone could reasonably say the writing is "clear, concise and with a great flow."

Virtually every page contains dozens of acronyms, personalities, dates, statistics, as well as historical details and geographical locations. It seems that almost any known politician, general, bandit, NGO observer, etc. during the time period and in the vicinity is mentioned. It makes for a very tough slog indeed.

The author's knowledge is impressive but after a hundred or so pages, I ground to a halt. Despite having read a couple of book on the Congo War (including the recent "Dancing in the Glory of Monsters"), I just started to wonder if I needed to know details like the number of seats won by anti-Balubakat party, what the RCD-said about the Kisangani evacuation, how many francs in taxes 142 companies agreed to pay, etc.

The war - its participants, their motivations and actions - was complicated and I think that the author's zooming down into a thicket of minutiae and acronyms didn't help matters. A scholarly work best suited for academics. Readable? Yes, but I think it unlikely that the average reader couldn't get the information elsewhere in much clearer fashion.

Posted on Apr 2, 2013 12:08:56 PM PDT
I recommend reading this: http://monthlyreview.org/2010/05/01/rwanda-and-the-democratic-republic-of-congo-in-the-propaganda-system#gsc.tab=0
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