I found this a very stimulating and interesting read. The narrative is chronological, beginning in the pre-colonial period before ending at the beginning of the 21st century. Throughout we encounter the main players on the Congolese stage such as Stanley, Leopold, Lumumba and Mobutu. These portraits keep the narrative interesting as we see into their various characters. The underlying theme is that the problems of the Congo region have never occurred within its own tight crucible, but rather within the global political arena. The authors also point out that the problems of DRC/Zaire cannot be simply be attributed to stereotypical criticisms associated with African governance. The final chapters demonstrate the continuing complicity of Western and African powers in the misery experienced by many of the poor people unfortunate enough to live in this part of the world. I certainly recommend this work.
Not an easy read but well worthwhile. The first chapter deals well with the problem of covering ground already dealt with by Hochschild by giving enough, but not too much detail. As someone realtively new to the history of DRC, although with academic history qualifications, it provides a good basic knowledge of the situation. It demonstrates the degree to which the West has plundered and damaged DRC clearly and well.