Read In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo by Michela Wrong Free Online
Book Title: In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo|
The author of the book: Michela Wrong
The size of the: 594 KB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: April 24th 2001
ISBN 13: 9780060188801
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 3.2
Read full description of the books:
He was known as "the Leopard," and for the thirty-two years of his reign Mobutu Sese Seko, president of Zaire, showed all the cunning of his namesake, seducing Western powers, buying up the opposition, and dominating his people with a devastating combination of brutality and charm. While the population was pauperized, he plundered the country's copper and diamond resources, downing pink champagne in his jungle palace like some modern-day reincarnation of Joseph Conrad's crazed station manager.Michela Wrong, a correspondent who witnessed firsthand Mobutu's last days, traces the rise and fall of the idealistic young journalist who became the stereotype of an African despot. Engrossing, highly readable, and as funny as it is tragic, her book assesses how Belgium's King Leopold, the CIA, and the World Bank all helped to bring about the disaster that is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. If, in this poignant account, the villains are the "Big Vegetables" (les Grosses légumes) -- the fat cats who benefited from Mobutu's largesse -- the heroes are the ordinary citizens trapped in a parody of a state. Living in the shadow of a disintegrating nuclear reactor, where banknotes are not worth the paper they are printed on, they have turned survival into an art form. For all its valuable insights into Africa's colonial heritage and the damage done by Western intervention, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz is ultimately a celebration of the irrepressible human spirit.
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Read information about the authorHalf-Italian, half-British, Michela Wrong was born in 1961. She grew up in London and took a degree in Philosophy and Social Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge and a diploma in journalism at Cardiff.
She joined Reuters news agency in the early 1980s and was posted as a foreign correspondent to Italy, France and Ivory Coast. She became a freelance journalist in 1994, when she moved to then-Zaire and found herself covering both the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda and the final days of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko for the BBC and Reuters. She later moved to Kenya, where she spent four years covering east, west and central Africa for the Financial Times newspaper.
In 2000 she published her first book, "In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz", the story of Mobutu's rise and fall, which won a PEN prize for non-fiction. Her second book, "I didn't do it for you", which focused on the little-written-about Red Sea nation of Eritrea, came out in 2005 and was hailed as a "gripping political thriller" by Monica Ali.
Her third book, published in February 2009, was "It's Our Turn to Eat", which tracks the story of Kenyan corruption whistleblower John Githongo, who sought refuge in her London flat. Boycotted by Nairobi bookshops terrified of being sued, it has become an underground bestseller in Kenya, distributed by local churches, radio stations and non-governmental groups and debated in town hall meetings. Described as reading "like a cross between Le Carre and Solzhenitsyn", it has triggered expressions of interest from US and South African film directors. It was named as one of the Economist's "best books of 2009" and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.
Michela Wrong's non-fiction books on contemporary Africa aim to be accessible to both members of the general public and experts in the field. They have become a must-read for diplomats, aid officials, journalists and strategists based on the continent and regularly feature on the "required reading" lists of International Relations and African Studies courses at university. She was awarded the 2010 James Cameron prize for journalism "that combined moral vision and professional integrity
She currently lives in London and is regularly interviewed by the BBC, Al Jazeera and Reuters on her areas of expertise. She has published opinion pieces and book reviews in the Observer, Guardian, Financial Times, New Statesman, Spectator, Standpoint and Foreign Policy magazine, and travel pieces for Traveler Conde Nast. She speaks fluent Italian and French.
In 2014 she was appointed literary director of the Miles Morland Foundation, which funds a range of African literary festivals and a scholarship scheme for African writers. She is a trustee of the Africa Research Institute and an advisor to the Centre for Global Development.