Gwenyth's Reviews > Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters by Jason  Stearns
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Mar 21, 2011

it was amazing
Read in May, 2011

This book has gone farther than anything else I have read towards explaining what happened in the Congo. The tangle he unwinds makes it obvious why news coverage has often been so unsatisfactory - even the best journalists must find it difficult to do justice to the complexity of the situation in a limited number of words.

Stearns has done a really impressive job of balancing the various needs of such a story: he explains the political intricacies in a clear and readable way, and is honest and clarifying about the confusingly shifting lines between what is known and what is rumor in such a context. He also manages to discuss atrocities that have been committed without slipping into lurid or, alternatively, giving the victims less than their due.

All in all, he comes off as someone who is deeply invested in the Congo: both in translating it's history to the larger world, and in wanting its people to be seen and understood first and last as human beings in a terrible circumstance. He writes like someone who loves the country he is writing about, and that ineffable quality elevates the book to something above many other non-fiction books about Africa - above, for instance, "We would like to inform you that..." which is also excellent but never, in the end, so deeply committed.
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