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Exterminate All the Brutes: One Man's Odyssey into the Heart of Darkness and the Origins of European Ge [Paperback]

Sven Lindqvist , Joan Tate
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 April 2002
Taking its title from Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", this study traces Europe's dark history in Africa. It is written both in the form of a travel diary and as a historical examination of European imperialism and rascism over the past two centuries.

Product details

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (11 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862075085
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862075085
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'This book is important...we, our rulers, and their stooges should read contains a message for our future' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian 'The chilling title of this excellent book is the line from Conrad's Heart of Darkness that concludes Kurtz's report on the task of the white man in Africa' Mail on Sunday 'Here is a book which has come out of risk and years of thought' John Berger

About the Author

Sven Lindqvist was born in Stockholm in 1932 and has travelled extensively through Asia, Africa and Latin America.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is very healthy reading for everyone 5 July 2004
This is a book to make you cry and reform your life. Lindqvist meticulously and mercilessly traces the development of excuses and justification that lead to unspeakable massacres (in the league of the nazi concentration camps or the Battle of Omdurman) - it is about what people slaughtering the underdog in the most soul-destroying manner tell themselves while doing it. By way of style, it is flawless. Lindqvist stays well away from the moral high ground and self-righteousness, and subtly makes us realise that we all harbour the mind-patterns of an executioner.
It is also extremely readable and intersperses a Saharan travelogue through the history of the ideology and science of racism and violence.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coruscating criticism of European racism 24 Nov 2003
This book is a terrifying account of how the Holocaust was a replay in Europe of the hideous, murderous assault on africans by the imperialists of the late nineteenth century. It spares nobody - those who think the Holocaust was the product of a purely German exterminationist racism, neo-imperialists who look back on "Empire" as a golden age, believers in the benevolence of the Christian church and its missionary work in the "dark continent".
One of the most powerful books on racism ever written, and a gem of concision. Buy it and be awed and shocked by the depth of Europe's brutality a century ago, and wonder why it has taken so long for this story to reach us.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating way to present history 12 Jan 2003
Strictly chronological retellings of history can be a little dull, and reminiscent of the stuffy school classroom. Lindqvist's approach is very different - he mixes up history, theory, travel writing, and his own dreams to create the effect that you are discovering history with him. The conclusions he draws - or rather, invites the reader to draw - are surprising, and should make sobering reading for anyone who mourns the decline of the British (or French, or Spanish) empire. He links the origins of Darwinian theory through to the eugenics of the Third Reich, showing how science can be misused to further misguided and murderous projects. If it has lost any impact in the translation, it isn't missed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read in a day, improve your attitude in a day 8 Feb 2010
Quite Eurocentric - but then we are trailblazers of mass murder aren't we? A short and disturbing read, it shows you the depth and danger of our tribal intolerance. Just remember its not just Europeans/Westerners slaughtering others; never has been.

As a Brit it was fascinating to learn the nastiness of Stanley's expeditions, of Darwin's 2-faced part in Western racist thought, and of the imperialism to which Joseph Conrad and H.G. Wells responded.

I read it in half a day. Its a pacy fusion of travelogue, history, and comment. I'd snap up any book by this author.
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