Feb 17, 12
Read from January 30 to February 16, 2012
Africa's World war is an excellent, in-depth and well researched study of the war in the Congo. The book begins with the immediate aftermath of the rwandan genocide of 1994 and explains the events which led to the conflagration. This conflict was labelled as africa's first world war and was the biggest conflict on the continent since WWII, claiming 4 million lives.
This is an impressive book. With about 100 pages of footnotes, and a 45 page bibliography, this is a very thorough study of a very complex conflict. The author manages to avoid taking sides, exposing the motives of the actors involved. This is not an easy book, as the multitude of players, names, rebel groups, armies is a little intimidating at first. This is the first book I read on the subject and it might have been a little easier to have a little more knowledge on the region before diving into this book. The author does a great job of explaining the backround of the countries involved in the war, with an overview of the Angolan civil war, the Central African Republic, the propping up of Mobutu as a western ally in the cold war, the situation in the Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, the Kivus and in Rwanda in the post-genocide period. Even though the author goes into the intricate details of the conflit, he manages to weave a narrative that is compelling and enlightening.
I highly recommend this book. My only advice to the neophyte on the subject, as I am, is to relax and not get overwhelmed by the avalanche of information and groups.