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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent account of a crazy and forgotten country
Congo is possibly the hardest country in the world to write about, and Michela Wrong has spoken to hundreds of people across the world as well as living in the place for years and come up with an account that isn't sentimental or finger-wagging or scornful. It's fascinating, moving and often funny. It's about everything in the Congo: the craze for Western fashions among...
Published on 19 Dec 2000 by simonkuper@hotmail.com

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mobutu: Autocrat, Kleptocrat, and Friend of the West
Mobutu Sese Seko Ngbendu Kuku Wa Za Banga, Zaire's strongman for thirty years was a larger-than-life autocrat. His name, which means 'the all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake', struck fear into the hearts of his enemies. He was charismatic leader, student of Machiavelli,...
Published 19 months ago by A. O. P. Akemu


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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reading, 18 May 2013
By 
Nico (Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo (Paperback)
Very interesting reading about the Congo/Zaire under Mobutu. Really well written takes you right into the heart of the corrupt,decaying regime and the madness of it all. Mobutu's palace in the jungle was just the icing on the cake really.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Kurtz, 8 Feb 2013
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This is an excellent book. I found every page interesting. Ms. Wrong takes you through:

A journey across Zaire, describing a rich and amazing country
The potent history from Stanley to Mobutu
Across social strata and how each layer was corrupted

She enthusiastically exposes the vested interests of America, France and Belgium and the impotence of the IMF and the World Bank. All of which ignored the plight of the millions that died as Mobutu took his people and their economy into an abyss.

This book amazed me, saddened me but gave me a glint of hope for the people of the Congo.
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5.0 out of 5 stars in the footsteps of Ms. Wrong, 22 Jan 2013
By 
A. Browne "avid reader" (Donegal Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo (Paperback)
Michaela wrog is a wonderful writer and in this masterpiece she explores the long reign ( of Tyranny and corruption) of Mobutu former ultimate ruler of Zaire . The poor congo has had a lot inflictd on it this book details the theft of a countries assets by it's ruler. It shows the idiocy and compliance of western governments. It also shows the mistakes made by the IMF , will they make similar mistakes in the current economic climate. This is not a dry story it is littered with amusing stories some of which enthrall and others terrify. This is an essential book for any one trying to come to rems with Africa, corruption , and the mindset of tyrants.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Congo/Zaire/DRC, 13 Jan 2013
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Michaela Wrong's account of Mobutu's reign as President of Congo gives the reader a wonderful insight into that time in Congo/Zaire's history. A wonderful read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pride of place on my bookshelf., 2 Dec 2012
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This review is from: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo (Paperback)
This book has encouraged me to take an interest in the history and politics of Africa. Reading the stories beyond the headlines proved an eye opener and went some way to understanding one of the "big men" of Africa. This is a book you can read many times and learn something new on each occasion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wrong is right on, 22 Aug 2011
This review is from: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo (Paperback)
This is a truly brilliant book about Mobutu and his rule in what was then Zaire. Wrong gives a brilliant history of the country since its independence and shows how Mobutu conspired against the first president of the country and became leader. She goes on to give a vivid and detailed account of the corruption that Mobutu introduced into the country. The west is not spared. Wrong shows how the US financed Mobutu out of fear of communism sweeping across Africa (a fear Mobutu played upon with brilliance).

The real worth of this book is not just to tell us about Zaire and its horrific corruption, it is an insight into how an average African country worked since independence. Africa is gradually (too gradually) coming out of this "Big man" mentality.

Congratulations to Ms. Wrong on a brilliant book, really well written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A case of reckoning, 3 May 2006
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This review is from: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo (Paperback)
The Congo basin is the most cruelly raped part of Africa. It and its immediate northern and southern neighbors were the principal source of slaves for the American plantations. In colonial times, Belgian Congo suffered more than all the other African territories from the harshness of colonialism, a legacy that was carried over to the 1960s when efforts at liberation led to the independence of many African countries. That contemporary legacy of misrule, the fomentation of ethnic strife and genocide is what is haunting the land today, and the Belgian king Leopold played a crucial role in bequeathing that horrible legacy. The genocide in Rwanda and the strife in Burundi are all parts of the legacy. French genocidal legacy abound in Cameroon, Algeria etc. German legacy is felt in Namibia. DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, LE GENOCIDE FRANCO-AFRICAIN,WHEN VICTIMS BECOME KILLERS, THE HERERO REBELLION IN SOUTH WEST AFRICA , THE TROUBLED HEART OF AFRICA are some of the books that provide an insight into the plague.

Who should be blamed for seed of ethnic strife and genocidal tendencies that has been planted in Africa? Is it the fault of some of those former colonial masters who have not changed their ways and support the African leaders with the evil disposition who have hijacked their nations? On the other hand, is it the inherent fault of the Africans who fail as masses to liberate themselves from the horrible legacies?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lively story which is a pleasure to read, 31 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Michela has produced an excellent history full of pithy descriptions of the individuals who were touched by Mobutu. This book is well written and a joy to read - I've read it twice already.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful insight into corruption self-delusion., 22 July 2006
By 
D. W. Miller "dmiller945" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo (Paperback)
Well researched and smoothly written, this book helped me better understand how corrupt leadership allied to perhaps more manipulative activity from western countries shaped this part of Africa for a while and probably still does. Mobutu's belief that he could do whatever he liked was justified for so long that he dipped further and deeper into the cookie jar of aid that came his way.

I shall read the next book that this author writes in the hope that I can continue learning and perhaps better appreciate the challenges that Africa faces.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A true, disturbing and well researched account but..., 24 Oct 2011
This review is from: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo (Paperback)
This is actually a very well written account of what happened in Zaire(now DRC)I was aware of the excesses of Mobutu Sese Seko but did not know to what extent his kleptocracy run.

My issue is that to an individual who hasn't spent sufficient time in Africa, he or she will easily characterize the entire continent as being similar to the DRC which is just not the case. Each country is very different and oddly, and rather contradictorily, very similar in many ways.

Finally, I have an issue with her expression that she loves the DRC. This message was not conveyed consistently and arguably even at all! It ends on a rather flat note. Maybe it is just me being an eternal optimist but it appears not to offer any hope for the country the author claims to loves. The stories of the locals that she interacts with show Congolese people who are either corrupt or have simply given up on the country. I on the other hand, have met some pretty tough,amazing and resilient people who have endured unbelieved hardship in the DRC and they continue to hope and fight to change the situation in their country. It is this rather flat, deflated and defeated ending that really gets to me. She should have taken more time to really know the people of DRC and less on her fellow overly sun tanned European hotel guest. The people of DRC deserve more credit for their courage and resiliency.

All of the above aside, I think that it is a well researched and written. It is at times hilarious but I question of the whole purpose of the exercise. What was or is the whole point of the book? If it show that DRC or Africa is a mess, we could simply tune into CNN or BBC. They seem to have that routine nailed down pretty well.
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