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Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa's Deadliest War Paperback – 14 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (14 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851689273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851689279
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 436,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A compelling debut.' --The Bookseller ‘Intimate and entertaining portraits’ The Economist

‘Intimate and entertaining portraits’ The Economist 'impressive [and] captivating’ Business Day Live


‘impressive [and] captivating’ Business Day Live


'Lucid, Laconic, and elegantly written.' --Michela Wrong, author of In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz

'Undaunted by hazards that would send most journalists scurrying back to the bar of their hotel, Rawlence gets far deeper into the life of this war-torn country.' --Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

"Rawlence gets under Congo’s skin… He makes a self-effacing guide with a necessary sense of the ridiculous, an eye for the telling detail and a talent for evocativedescription. But it is his closeness to the Congolese that really stands out." The Times

“Radio Congo is an unexpected broadcast of hope. [Rawlence] meets militia men, entrepreneurs, pygmies, refugees and former child soldiers and, for light relief, gets drunk with priests… and dances to east Africa's irrepressible guitar pop, bolingo… This is a much-needed introduction to a misunderstood country – and a welcome glimpse of sunshine.” Prospect

‘Very readable… Rawlence writes in a beautiful lyrical style, whether he's introducing us to some of the eccentric characters he meets along the way or whether describing the scenes he encounters.’ We Love This Book ‘Rawlence is well placed… [He] doesn’t shy away from the horror, nor the devastation to the land and its people… worthwhile.’ New Internationalist

• ‘It is the stories of people Rawlence meets along the way that make Radio Congo so appealing… compelling [and] powerful… an enlightening contribution.’ Think Africa Press review

‘Vivid and lyrical… [an] important read’ Kirkus Reviews

‘Fascinating… a beautifully-written, engaging book.’ Daily Maverick

‘refreshing’

Review

“Intrepid and undaunted by hazards that would send most journalists scurrying back to the bar of their hotel, Rawlence gets far deeper into the life of this war-torn country than most.”

(Adam Hochschild - author of Bury the Chains, Half the Way Home and King Leopold's Ghost) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ros on 23 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Radio Congo is, ostensibly, an account the writer's trip along the shores and waters of Lake Tanganyika. But it is much more than a travel book. Ben Rawlence, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, has a deep knowledge and understanding of African history. A fluent Swahili speaker, his journey takes us to the heart of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its resilient people. Colonialism, war, and their aftermath, are prevailing themes, but Radio Congo is no catalogue of horrors. The great strength of the book is the way in which it allows the people to tell their own story and to engage us in the sounds, sights, smells and tastes of their hot, damaged and deeply exploited country.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Noel on 7 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an account of an unknown Congo. Ben Rawlence travelled Southwards through Eastern Congo from Goma and north Kivu in the North to the death triangle towns of Katanga in the South. He passed through towns and villages which have been destroyed by successive wars and he witnessed the tentative efforts towards recovery, though the strains among the peoples of this vast region are still simmering under the surface. Everywhere he went he was met with hopsitality, kindness and warmth, excepting the occasional bureaucrats on the make.

The journey is through the borderlands of Congo to the East of his route are Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia and most of these countries have experienced an influx of refugees fleeing from the successive conflicts which have afflicted eastern Congo. Lake Tanganyika forms part of Congo's eastern border and in the absence of roads he travels by boat down the lake. When the lake runs out he takes to land and whatever vehicles he can find including jeep or pillion on motorcyles over roads which are no more.

The northern part of this journey is through that beautiful fertile Kivu region where many Rwandan Hutus fled with the Interahamwe to escape Tutsi vengence for the Rwandan genocide of 1994. That began a cycle of violence inside the borders of Zaire/Congo. Rwanda and others invaded. The Congo army and the foreign armies fought each other. Then the indigenous Mai Mai militia fought the Congo army. All of them preyed on the people and refugees flooded out of obliterated towns and villages to neighbouring countries. Ben Rawlence recounts the stories of many families who stayed behind and suffered the consequences. He also witnesses the organised, eager and hopeful return of many refugees to their homeland.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By mamguali on 20 July 2012
Format: Paperback
This book forced me to put down the two others I was reading. It is full of beautiful descriptions of a land and people devastated by war but it isn't heavy going and doesn't dwell on the horrors of the conflict to shock you. It grabs your attention by focusing on the hope and resilience of the people who have survived and the barriers they face as they try to re-establish their lives in their homeland.

After reading, I feel as though I have been on a journey through a place that I would not have otherwise heard about.

Excellent
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aejane on 19 Sep 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoying the friendship of one or two Congolese, this book was of immediate interest to me. The writer describes his travels to the south of the country, encountering many problems and dangers on the way, but the hospitality, courage and warmth of the Congolese shines through every chapter. Their inventiveness against superhuman odds adds humour and humanity to this honest and well-written odyssey. The role of radio in Congo is a constant thread, whether for information, entertainment or other purposes.
Not a read-on-the-train book - it is too full of detail!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lulu on 18 July 2012
Format: Paperback
I really didn't expect to find this book so engaging as the subject matter appeared to be quite grim. It's fast paced and there's plenty of adventure, but it also tells you a good deal about the realities of this region through personal stories.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Janesca on 19 July 2012
Format: Paperback
The best factual book I've read in ages. Touching, gripping and incredibly informative, it a very well written book from someone who really cares about his subject matter. Highly reccommended.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By mau on 18 July 2012
Format: Paperback
fantastic book! entertaining to read and super interesting, many facts about a country needing more people like this great writer to be interested and write more about what is really happening.
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By Lorraine on 12 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book. Having travelled in the DRC, and knowing how volatile the political and security situation still is, but how lovely the ordinary people are, I thought this book csptured the situation wonderfully. An excellent read.
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