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Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe Hardcover – December 31, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 76 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"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

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Oxford University Press; 1st edition (December 31, 2008)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 576 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0195374207
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0195374209
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.05 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9.3 x 1.9 x 6.4 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 76 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
76 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on July 28, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on May 29, 2009
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Top reviews from other countries

Charles Vasey
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Kurtz's children
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 14, 2010
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11 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is brilliant, and information rich
Reviewed in Canada on July 7, 2015
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Victor Cahat
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on war, the State, hatred and greed in the great lakes region. Essential.
Reviewed in France on March 10, 2016
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J. Newth
4.0 out of 5 stars Africa's ongoing tagedy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 14, 2012
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5 people found this helpful
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Terence Tan Co
5.0 out of 5 stars At last a detailed book on the Second Congo War
Reviewed in Canada on January 6, 2009
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