Book Review: Congo by David Van Reybrouck

May 2, 2016

Congo: The Epic History of A People by David Van Reybrouck is a fascinating non-fiction book about the titled region. The “epic” in the title is not to be taken lightly, this book is indeed epic in scope.

  • 656 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062200119

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I bought Congo: The Epic History of A People by David Van Reybrouck because I had Amazon credits, it was on sale, I like history and the title was fascinating. It took me a long time to start this book, it was long and my initial interest waned after a few days. But I’m glad I bought it and I’m glad I read it.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most screwed up places I ever read about. It seems the folks in the Congo can’t get a break, going from colonial oppression, to anarchy only to be “saved” by a violent dictatorship which, in turn, spawns two civil wars. All that turmoil in a regions which is rich in beyond the hopes of most of the countries on Earth.

I enjoyed the history and the narrative very much, I felt bad for the poor people of the Congo who struggle with enemies from within and without. Every time I started to feel some sort of hope between the pages, Mr. Van Reybrouck crushes my beliefs in humanity within a few moments, for the struggle to start again.

The beauty of entertainment, whether it be books, movies or roller coasters, is that you can distance yourself from the issues, know that you are relatively safe and that the feeling of anxiety is temporary, unfounded and often illogical. I tried to tell myself that until the author hit me over the head with the following passage: “Congo does not lag behind the course of history, but runs out in front”. Globalization, over population and wartime economies in a microcosm.

This book is brutal in its narrative, criticizing Europe and the world for treating the area which gives much of its needed resources to the world, and to the Congo leadership that abuses the populace as much as its previous European masters. I knew nothing of the Congo before reading this book, now I know a bit more and have a better understanding of their struggles.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I bought this book
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