In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz

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9781841154220: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz

A story of grim comedy amid the apocalypse and a celebration of the sheer indestructibility of the human spirit in a nation run riot: Michela Wrong's vision of Congo/Zaire during the Mobutu years is incisive, ironic and revelatory.Mr Kurtz, the colonial white master, brought evil to the remote upper reaches of the Congo River. A century after Conrad's `Heart of Darkness' was first published, Michela Wrong revisits the Congo during the turbulent era of Mobutu Sese Seko.From the heart of Africa comes grotesque confusion: pink-lipsticked rebel soldiers mingle with track-suited secret policemen in hotels where fin de siecle dinner parties are ploughing through vintage wines rather than leave them to the new regime. Congo, the African country richest in natural resources, has institutionalised kleptomania. Everyone is on the take. Someone has even swiped one of the uranium rods from the country's only nuclear reactor.Having presided over unprecedented looting of the country's wealth, Mobutu, like Kurtz, retreated deep within the jungle to his palace of marble floors and gold taps. A hundred years on and nothing has changed.

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Review:

During Mobutu Sese Seko's 30 years as president of Zaire (now the Congo), he managed to plunder his nation's economy and live a life of excess unparalleled in modern history. A foreign correspondent in Zaire for six years, Michela Wrong has plenty of titillating stories to tell about Mobutu's excesses, such as the Versailles-like palace he built in the jungle, or his insistence that he needed $10 million a month to live on. However, these are not the stories that most interest Wrong. Her aim is to understand all of the reasons behind the economic disintegration of the most mineral-rich country on the African continent; in so doing, she turns over the mammoth rock that was Mobutu and finds a seething underworld of parasites with names like the CIA, the World Bank and the IMF, the French and Belgian governments, mercenaries, and a host of fat cats who benefited from Mobutu's largesse and even exceeded his rapaciousness.

Wrong turns first to Belgian's King Leopold II, who instituted a brutal colonial regime in the Congo in order to extract the natural and mineral wealth for his personal gain. Mobutu, with the aid of a U.S. government determined to sabotage Soviet expansion, stepped easily into Leopold's footsteps, continuing a culture built on government-sanctioned sleaze and theft. Under the circumstances, it's hard not to feel some sympathy for the people who survived in the only ways they could--teachers trading passing grades for groceries, hospitals refusing to let patients leave until they paid up, cassava patches cultivated next to the frighteningly unsafe nuclear reactor. What is less comprehensible--and rightly due for an airing--are Wrong's revelations about foreign interventions. Why, for example, did the World Bank and IMF give Mobutu $9.3 billion in aid, knowing full well that he was pocketing most of it?

In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz is a brilliantly conceived and written work, sharply observant and richly described with a necessary sense of the absurd. Wrong paints a far more nuanced picture of the wily autocrat than we've seen before, and of the blatant greed and paranoia of the many players involved in the country's self-destruction. --Lesley Reed

About the Author:

Michela Wrong has been a foreign correspondent since joining Reuters after University and has worked extensively in Africa for the BBC and has also worked for the Sunday Times. She now writes for the Financial Times.

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Michela Wrong
Editorial: HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2011)
ISBN 10: 1841154229 ISBN 13: 9781841154220
Nuevos Paperback Cantidad: 10
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Descripción HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A story of grim comedy amid the apocalypse and a celebration of the sheer indestructibility of the human spirit in a nation run riot: Michela Wrong s vision of Congo/Zaire during the Mobutu years is incisive, ironic and revelatory.Mr Kurtz, the colonial white master, brought evil to the remote upper reaches of the Congo River. A century after Conrad s `Heart of Darkness was first published, Michela Wrong revisits the Congo during the turbulent era of Mobutu Sese Seko.From the heart of Africa comes grotesque confusion: pink-lipsticked rebel soldiers mingle with track-suited secret policemen in hotels where fin de siecle dinner parties are ploughing through vintage wines rather than leave them to the new regime. Congo, the African country richest in natural resources, has institutionalised kleptomania. Everyone is on the take. Someone has even swiped one of the uranium rods from the country s only nuclear reactor.Having presided over unprecedented looting of the country s wealth, Mobutu, like Kurtz, retreated deep within the jungle to his palace of marble floors and gold taps. A hundred years on and nothing has changed. Nº de ref. de la librería AA89781841154220

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Michela Wrong
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Descripción Fourth Estate 2001-07-02, 2001. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería NU-BER-00251866

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Michela Wrong
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Descripción HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A story of grim comedy amid the apocalypse and a celebration of the sheer indestructibility of the human spirit in a nation run riot: Michela Wrong s vision of Congo/Zaire during the Mobutu years is incisive, ironic and revelatory.Mr Kurtz, the colonial white master, brought evil to the remote upper reaches of the Congo River. A century after Conrad s `Heart of Darkness was first published, Michela Wrong revisits the Congo during the turbulent era of Mobutu Sese Seko.From the heart of Africa comes grotesque confusion: pink-lipsticked rebel soldiers mingle with track-suited secret policemen in hotels where fin de siecle dinner parties are ploughing through vintage wines rather than leave them to the new regime. Congo, the African country richest in natural resources, has institutionalised kleptomania. Everyone is on the take. Someone has even swiped one of the uranium rods from the country s only nuclear reactor.Having presided over unprecedented looting of the country s wealth, Mobutu, like Kurtz, retreated deep within the jungle to his palace of marble floors and gold taps. A hundred years on and nothing has changed. Nº de ref. de la librería AA89781841154220

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Descripción Fourth Estate, 2001. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. BRAND NEW ** SUPER FAST SHIPPING FROM UK WAREHOUSE ** 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. Nº de ref. de la librería mon0000409503

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Descripción HarperCollins Publishers. Paperback. Estado de conservación: new. BRAND NEW, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo, Michela Wrong, A story of grim comedy amid the apocalypse and a celebration of the sheer indestructibility of the human spirit in a nation run riot: Michela Wrong's vision of Congo/Zaire during the Mobutu years is incisive, ironic and revelatory. Mr Kurtz, the colonial white master, brought evil to the remote upper reaches of the Congo River. A century after Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' was first published, Michela Wrong revisits the Congo during the turbulent era of Mobutu Sese Seko. From the heart of Africa comes grotesque confusion: pink-lipsticked rebel soldiers mingle with track-suited secret policemen in hotels where fin de siecle dinner parties are ploughing through vintage wines rather than leave them to the new regime. Congo, the African country richest in natural resources, has institutionalised kleptomania. Everyone is on the take. Someone has even swiped one of the uranium rods from the country's only nuclear reactor. Having presided over unprecedented looting of the country's wealth, Mobutu, like Kurtz, retreated deep within the jungle to his palace of marble floors and gold taps. A hundred years on and nothing has changed. Nº de ref. de la librería B9781841154220

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Descripción Estado de conservación: New. Bookseller Inventory # ST1841154229. Nº de ref. de la librería ST1841154229

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Descripción Fourth Estate, 2001. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería ria9781841154220_rkm

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