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Africa's world war : Congo, the Rwandan genocide, and the making of a continental catastrophe /
Gérard Prunier.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2009.
description
xxxviii, 529 pages : maps.
ISBN
0195374207 (hardback : alk. paper), 9780195374209 (hardback : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2009.
isbn
0195374207 (hardback : alk. paper)
9780195374209 (hardback : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6685431
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Arthur Ross Book Awards, USA, 2010 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2008-10-20:
The bloodiest modern conflict you've never heard of gets a searching appraisal in this exhaustive history. Africanist Prunier (The Rwanda Crisis) follows the 1996-2002 war in the Democratic Republic of Congo through many bewildering twists and turns. Sparked by a Rwandan army incursion to clear out Hutu-dominated refugee camps on the border between the two countries, the conflict dragged in the armies of eight surrounding countries and an alphabet soup of Congolese guerrilla movements and tribal militias; millions died in the fighting and attendant massacres, starvation and disease. Prunier discerns many layers to the upheaval; a conventional struggle for political control of what had been called Zaire, it was also a multisided act of piracy aimed at looting the country's mineral wealth, an outbreak of generations-long ethnic hatreds and a ghastly symptom of Africa's ongoing crisis of weak and illegitimate governments. The author carefully untangles these complexities while offering unsparing assessments of the participants, including a vigorous indictment of Rwanda's Tutsi leaders for using the 1994 genocide as an excuse for their own atrocities. Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy."--Publishers Weekly
"Mr. Prunier points out, the genocide in Rwanda acted as an incendiary bomb, setting fire to disputes that go back generations...Help(s) disentangle the fiendishly complicated histories of national and tribal identities, real and invented."-- The Economist "This unique and hugely ambitious book may turn out to be one of the most important to emerge on Africa for a long time."-- Financial Times "Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy."-- Publishers Weekly " Africa's World War is the most ambitious of several remarkable new books that reexamine the extraordinary tragedy of Congo and Central Africa since the Rwandan genocide of 1994."-- New York Review of Books "The book is remarkable not just because Gérard Prunier, who has spent his life studying African conflicts, is able to call on every academic discipline required to comprehend this gigantic disaster, but also because he was an eyewitness to much of it himself, and frequently has telling details to offer about the behaviour and motivation of key individuals. He writes, moreover, with a verve, sophistication and wit equalled, in my experience, only by fellow French intellectual Régis Debray."-- The Sunday Times , UK "Runier is immensely knowledgeable and passionate about his subject.... [He sorts] out some of the strands of an immenseley complicated and enormously devastating conflict, and for that we are surely in his debt."-- Books & Culture " Africa's World War is one of the first books to lay bare the complex dynamic between Rwanda and Congo that has been driving this disaster."--Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times Book Review "War correspondents also love Prunier's work: Howard French, who covered Congo during the 1990s for the New York Times , recently placed Africa's World War on a list of books he thought President Obama should be reading."-- The Nation "One of the most remarkable qualities of this remarkable book is Prunier's ability to combine cool analysis and scholarly dispassion without losing sight of its horror... This is a profound book, and, to use an old-fashioned word, a noble one."--David Rieff, author of Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son's Memoir
"Mr. Prunier points out, the genocide in Rwanda acted as an incendiary bomb, setting fire to disputes that go back generations...Help(s) disentangle the fiendishly complicated histories of national and tribal identities, real and invented."--The Economist "This unique and hugely ambitious book may turn out to be one of the most important to emerge on Africa for a long time."--Financial Times "Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy."--Publishers Weekly "Africa's World Waris the most ambitious of several remarkable new books that reexamine the extraordinary tragedy of Congo and Central Africa since the Rwandan genocide of 1994."--New York Review of Books "The book is remarkable not just because G rard Prunier, who has spent his life studying African conflicts, is able to call on every academic discipline required to comprehend this gigantic disaster, but also because he was an eyewitness to much of it himself, and frequently has telling details to offer about the behaviour and motivation of key individuals. He writes, moreover, with a verve, sophistication and wit equalled, in my experience, only by fellow French intellectual R gis Debray."--The Sunday Times, UK "Runier is immensely knowledgeable and passionate about his subject.... [He sorts] out some of the strands of an immenseley complicated and enormously devastating conflict, and for that we are surely in his debt."--Books & Culture "Africa's World Waris one of the first books to lay bare the complex dynamic between Rwanda and Congo that has been driving this disaster."--Jeffrey Gettleman,New York Times Book Review "War correspondents also love Prunier's work: Howard French, who covered Congo during the 1990s for theNew York Times, recently placedAfrica's World Waron a list of books he thought President Obama should be reading."--The Nation "One of the most remarkable qualities of this remarkable book is Prunier's ability to combine cool analysis and scholarly dispassion without losing sight of its horror... This is a profound book, and, to use an old-fashioned word, a noble one."--David Rieff, author ofSwimming in a Sea of Death: ASon's Memoir
"Mr. Prunier points out, the genocide in Rwanda acted as an incendiary bomb, setting fire to disputes that go back generations...Help(s) disentangle the fiendishly complicated histories of national and tribal identities, real and invented."--The Economist "This unique and hugely ambitious book may turn out to be one of the most important to emerge on Africa for a long time."--Financial Times "Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy."--Publishers Weekly "The book is remarkable not just because Gerard Prunier, who has spent his life studying African conflicts, is able to call on every academic discipline required to comprehend this gigantic disaster, but also because he was an eyewitness to much of it himself, and frequently has telling details to offer about the behaviour and motivation of key individuals. He writes, moreover, with a verve, sophistication and wit equalled, in my experience, only by fellow French intellectual Regis Debray."--The Sunday Times, UK
"This unique and hugely ambitious book may turn out to be one of the most important to emerge on Africa for a long time."--Financial Times "Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy."--Publishers Weekly
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, October 2008
New York Times Book Review, April 2009
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The Rwandan genocide sparked a horrific bloodbath that swept across sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately leading to the deaths of some four million people. In this extraordinary history of the recent wars in Central Africa, Gerard Prunier offers a gripping account of how one grisly episode laid thegroundwork for a sweeping and disastrous upheaval. Prunier vividly describes the grisly aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, when some two million refugees--a third of Rwanda's population--fled to exile in Zaire in 1996. The new Rwandan regime then crossed into Zaire and attacked the refugees, slaughtering upwards of 400,000 people. The Rwandanforces then turned on Zaire's despotic President Mobutu and, with the help of a number of allied African countries, overthrew him. But as Prunier shows, the collapse of the Mobutu regime and the ascension of the corrupt and erratic Laurent-Desire Kabila created a power vacuum that drew Rwanda,Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and other African nations into an extended and chaotic war. The heart of the book documents how the whole core of the African continent became engulfed in an intractible and bloody conflict after 1998, a devastating war that only wound down following theassassination of Kabila in 2001. Prunier not only captures all this in his riveting narrative, but he also indicts the international community for its utter lack of interest in what was then the largest conflict in the world. Here then is a gripping eyewitness account of the most bloody upheaval of recent times, a book of passionate and unblinking intensity that is our best record to date of one of the great tragedies of the post-Cold War era.
Main Description
The Rwandan genocide sparked a horrific bloodbath that swept across sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately leading to the deaths of some four million people. In this extraordinary history of the recent wars in Central Africa, Gerard Prunier offers a gripping account of how one grisly episode laid the groundwork for a sweeping and disastrous upheaval. Prunier vividly describes the grisly aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, when some two million refugees--a third of Rwanda's population--fled to exile in Zaire in 1996. The new Rwandan regime then crossed into Zaire and attacked the refugees, slaughtering upwards of 400,000 people. The Rwandan forces then turned on Zaire's despotic President Mobutu and, with the help of a number of allied African countries, overthrew him. But as Prunier shows, the collapse of the Mobutu regime and the ascension of the corrupt and erratic Laurent-D sir Kabila created a power vacuum that drew Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and other African nations into an extended and chaotic war. The heart of the book documents how the whole core of the African continent became engulfed in an intractible and bloody conflict after 1998, a devastating war that only wound down following the assassination of Kabila in 2001. Prunier not only captures all this in his riveting narrative, but he also indicts the international community for its utter lack of interest in what was then the largest conflict in the world. Praise for the hardcover: "The most ambitious of several remarkable new books that reexamine the extraordinary tragedy of Congo and Central Africa since the Rwandan genocide of 1994." --New York Review of Books "One of the first books to lay bare the complex dynamic between Rwanda and Congo that has been driving this disaster." --Jeffrey Gettleman,New York Times Book Review "Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy." --Publishers Weekly
Table of Contents
Abbreviationsp. viii
Glossaryp. xix
Mapsp. xxiv
Introductionp. xxix
Rwanda's mixed season of hope (July 1994-April 1995)p. 1
The immediate aftermathp. 1
The politics of national unityp. 7
Justice and the killingsp. 10
Rwanda outside Rwanda: the world of the refugee campsp. 24
The international community's attitudesp. 29
From Kibeho to the attack on Zaire (April 1995-October 1996)p. 37
The Kibeho crisisp. 37
The collapse of the national unity governmentp. 42
The refugees and the Kivu cockpitp. 46
North Kivu: ethnicity and the land conflictp. 48
South Kivu: the Banyamulenge and the memories of 1965p. 51
The impact of the Rwandese refugees on the Kivusp. 53
The Burundi factorp. 59
General Kagame goes to warp. 67
The Congo basin, its interlopers, and its onlookersp. 73
Into the Zairian vortexp. 75
The interlopersp. 80
Sudanese and Ugandansp. 80
Far from the Great Lakes: the Angolan conflictp. 88
Standing by, trying to keep out: three uneasy onlookersp. 99
Winning a virtual war (September 1996-May 1997)p. 113
Rwanda in Zaire: from refugee crisis to international warp. 113
Laurent-Desire Kabila and the birth of AFDLp. 113
The bogey of the multinational intervention forcep. 116
The refugee exodusp. 121
The long walk into Kinshasap. 126
War and diplomacyp. 126
The mining contracts: myths and realitiesp. 137
The fate of the refugeesp. 143
Losing the real peace (May 1997-August 1998)p. 149
Kabila in power: a secretive and incoherent leadershipp. 149
Diplomacy and the refugee issuep. 154
The economy: an ineffectual attempt at normalizationp. 161
Between Luanda and Brazzaville: the DRC's volatile West African environmentp. 167
The unquiet East: the Kivus and their neighborsp. 172
A continental war (August 1998-August 1999)p. 181
Commander Kabarebe's failed Blitzkriegp. 181
Heading for an African warp. 187
Kinshasa's friends: godfathers and discreet supportersp. 187
Kinshasa's foesp. 193
Fence-sitters and well-wishersp. 198
Fighting down to a stalematep. 203
Behind and around the war: domestic politics, diplomacy and economicsp. 209
The Lusaka "peace" charadep. 223
Sinking into the quagmire (August 1999-January 2001)p. 227
The war is dead, long live the warp. 227
The East: confused rebels in confused fightingp. 227
Westwards: the river warsp. 231
Rwanda drives south into Katangap. 234
The shaky home frontsp. 235
The Congo: an elusive search for national dialogue while the economy collapsesp. 235
Angola: the pressure begins to ease offp. 238
Zimbabwe: trying to make the war pay for itselfp. 239
Rwanda and Uganda: the friendship grows violentp. 240
The international dimension: giving aid, monitoring the looting, and waiting for MONUCp. 243
Mzee's assassinationp. 249
Not with a bang but with a whimper: the war's confused ending (January 2001-December 2002)p. 257
Li'l Joseph's new political dispensationp. 257
Diplomacy slowly deconstructs the continental conflictp. 265
The actors start jockeying for positionp. 265
Negoitations, national dialogue, and disarmament in competitionp. 267
The South African breakthroughp. 269
The bumpy road toward a transitional governmentp. 274
The economy: slowly crawling out of the abyssp. 277
The eastern sore: the continental conflict shrinks into sub-regional anarchyp. 280
From war to peace: Congolese transition and conflict deconstruction (January 2003-July 2007)p. 285
The conflict's lingering aftermath (January 2003-December 2004)p. 285
The peripheral actors drop offp. 285
Rwanda and Uganda refuse to give upp. 290
An attempt at violently upsetting the transitionp. 296
Tottering forward in Kinshasap. 300
Slouching toward Bethlehem: the transition slowly turns into reality (January 2005-November 2006)p. 303
The pre-electoral strugglesp. 303
DDRRR, SSR, and assorted security headachesp. 305
The electionsp. 309
The morning after syndrome (November 2006-July 2007)p. 315
The risk of internal political paralysisp. 315
The economy: donors, debts, and the Great Mining Robberyp. 316
The east refuses to healp. 320
Groping for meaning: the "Congolese" conflict and the crisis of contemporary Africap. 329
The war as an African phenomenonp. 330
The purely East African origins of the conflagrationp. 330
Antigenocide, the myth of the "new leaders," and the spread of democracy in Africa: the world projects its own rationale on the situationp. 331
The "New Congo," between African renaissance and African imperialismp. 333
From crusading to looting: the "new leaders" age quicklyp. 335
The war as seen by the outside worldp. 338
What did all the diplomatic agitation actually achieve?p. 338
Moral indignation in lieu of political resolvep. 346
An attempt at a philosophical conclusionp. 358
Seth Sendashonga's Murderp. 365
Notesp. 369
Bibliographyp. 469
Indexp. 515
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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