- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (March 29, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1586489291
- ISBN-13: 978-1586489298
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 137 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa Hardcover – March 29, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
""Dancing in the Glory of Monsters" is riveting and certain to become essential reading for anyone looking to understand Central Africa." --The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2001
"The best account [of the war] so far: more serious than several recent macho-war-correspondent travelogues, and more lucid and accessible than its nearest competitor." --Adam Hochschild, The New York Times, April 1, 2011
About the Author
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-4 of 137 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Stearns laments that the international community doesn’t understand the conflict or chooses not to understand the conflict. It is my view that people in general prefer the black and white, one side good, other side evil, and any conflict that can’t be hammered into that prism is problematic. So when you are talking a six sided conflict, you shouldn’t be surprised when people turn the channel so to speak. Still Stearns does a really impressive job of laying out why the conflicts have started and why they have proven so difficult to put out in a relatively brief 340 page format.
“Dancing in the Glory of Monsters” is an overview of the Congolese Wars about 1996 – 2011. The book covers history and current events from about 1990 to about 2011. There is much positive acclaim for this book quoted in the front of the book from such as the New York Time Book Review, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The Economist, The Financial Times and many other reviewers of prominence. Most are calling Jason Stearn's efforts the most balanced and insightful look into the Congolese Wars available.
Jason Stearns has spent considerable time in the Congo researching this book. There are several fascinating personal interviews by Stearns himself reported on with various surviving main players in the story.
The book is well written, and very readable. The story is well told. There are maps, a mite bit too small in my Kindle version that are very helpful.
References are made to the brutality of the wars without subjecting the reader unnecessarily to the gore and bloodshed. Although Gore and Bloodshed cannot be totally avoided in reporting on these wars. The personalities of the various leaders of all sides are well outlined and discussed, with their impact on the Wars and on The Congo. The extreme corruption that made matters much worse is outlined. The influence of Rwanda and Uganda are well displayed. The effects of tribalism, especially the Hutu's and the Tutsi's and that of the Congolese leaders are discussed in some detail. There are references to western nations such as United States, Canada, Cuba, Britain, and Belgium and the parts they played. The affects of the diamond and mineral trade are discussed.
For those with an interest in recent African History, “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters” is an absolute must to understand this era and locality.
Stearns does his best, using his skills as an investigative journalist to move through the key players in a rolling series of conflicts that started with the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, and linger today, despite a peace conference in 2002. While no one can speak for all the dead, Stearns tries, letting the survivors of genocidal attacks, epidemic ridden refugee camps, death marches, mass rape, and induction into armies of child soldiers tell their stories in their own words. It is impossible not to be moved.
On the broader political front, Stearns has a lot to say about the failures of institutions. The Congo was systematically hollowed out, first by the colonial slave trade, then the nightmare of King Leopold's Free State, and then by the decades long rule of Mobutu Sésé Seko, who turned divide and rule into an art, leaving a military that was incapable of conducting a coup against him, but also incapable of mounting any sort of defense against the innumerable rebel groups, foreign armies, and bandit gangs who rose up in the void. When the Rwandan government sought vengeance on Hutu génocidaires who had fled to the Congo with millions of refugee/hostages and were planning a return, the Congo was unable to resist. Rebel leader and new President Laurent Kabila had barely a year before the international coalition that installed him tried to oust him. This aggression, undoubtedly Tutsi lead, inspired retaliation against the Tutsi minority inside the Congo, and instigated a spiral of ethnic violence. It's impossible to blame people for turning to their primary loyalties, their family and ethnic group, and also impossible not to see the political exacerbation of ethnic tension as a major driver of violence. Whatever one's affiliation, it is too easy to see people with differently shaped noses as vermin to be exterminated.
There's also plenty of military daring and horrific absurdity to go around. Rwandan military plans involved marching 1,000 miles from the border to Kinshasa, about the same distance as Moscow to Berlin, except this time it's through practically trackless jungle. Congolese soldiers deserted in droves, their armor-heavy columns cut to shreds by motivated guerrilla bands of child soldiers. Laurent Kabila's authoritarian regime imposed taxes which would come to 230% of profits, if they were ever payed. At one of the collapses of the government, the minister of finance announced "Gentlemen, I have taken the precaution of emptying the treasury. It is in bags in trucks outside. You each get $22,000. Do the best that you can."
As I write this, President Joseph Kabila is planning to step down after elections in December 2018, after unconstitutionally extending his rule for two years, and the country may be slipping into war again. It's hard to fault the international community for not doing more, in a country with such terrible infrastructure, and without a clear moral narrative to support. There's always money to be made in turmoil, with the Congo's mineral wealth is available to the daring and unscrupulous. The people of the Congo deserve better. If not justice, they at least deserve a honor memorial for their dead.