Brian's Reviews > In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo

In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz by Michela Wrong
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's review
Mar 17, 08

Read in November, 2007

Ms. Wrong is a talented journalist and here she's written a solid obituary to the Mobutu era with some real-time observations on the brief and tumultuous reign of Mzee Laurent Kabila. The entire story of post-colonial DR Congo/Zaire is painted as outlandish and foolhardy with brushes of acerbic irony.

The book brought together several pieces of the puzzle for me and several times provoked an 'aha' out loud as I made connections to the life I observe daily in present-day DR Congo.

Footsteps is well written from an expatriate journalist perspective. My only major critique is that it seems Ms. Wrong has no time or interest in seeing the beauty of DRC in its land and its people, of at least giving a serious and direct nod to the suffering that is part of Mobutu's legacy. There is plenty to gawk at and rant over to fill this book and probably three more, but the kind of eye that sees the controversy and doesn't strive to also show the society in its humanness and loveliness is short sided. It sounds a little too much like a burned out expat who can't see the beauty amidst the mess.
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