A new book on the causes and evolution of the conflicts in eastern Congo has received favorable reviews in leading U.S. publications. Jason Stearns, a young American who began serving as a relief worker in the area in 2001, has just
published Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa.
Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost, wrote in his April 1 review in The New York Times : “The task facing anyone who tries to tell this whole story is formidable, but Stearns by and large rises to it. He has lived in the country, and has done a raft of interviews with people who witnessed what happened before he got there. Occasionally the chain of names of people and places temporarily swamps the reader, but on the whole his picture is clear, made painfully real by a series of close-up portraits.”
The American Congo-based political scientist who writes the blog “Texas in Africa” also has commented favorably on Stearns’ book: “As someone who has read the bulk of what’s been published on the conflict over the course of the last fifteen years, I can unequivocally say that this is the most accessible introduction to the country’s multi-layered local conflict, civil war, and international wars out there. In short, if you want to understand the DRC wars, you need to read this book.”
We will have to wait it seems for the book which covers the conflicts of eastern Congo’s effects on the nation as a whole
or the book which assesses the post Mobutu state’s attempts to control exploitation of Congo’s resources other than the minerals. Since the promulgation of the new Law of the Forest early in the current Kabila administration, cutting of the Congo rainforest in Equateur Province has stepped up considerably. Environmental groups such as Greenpeace International are monitoring the signing of contracts with European timber companies and recently protested the World Bank’s approval of the state’s opening up the rainforest to increased harvesting.