HarperCollins, 2010.

Review published Jan 2017.

I never expected to read a history of the Congo. In fact, if I were to wander through a library or a bookstore, this book would be the last I would probably select. It is thick -- more than 500 pages, has no illustrations but plenty of notes, and it covers a region that I'm never going to study in depth.

But it is a terrific book, and I'm happy Bob picked it up, liked it, and passed it on to me. As he says, the author understands that the history is really a story of the people, and the author made special efforts to find and interview many people involved in the course of the struggle for independence from Belgian rule (the fact that much of his history takes place in the twentieth century makes this possible, and also the people he interviews are often astonishingly old).

The author is a reporter and playwright, which means that his style is friendly and uncondescending, and he knows how to pepper his facts with stories. He genuinely loves Congo and the Congolese. Even the most brutal events are told with scrupulous attention to including facts and relevant details.

It's a book worth spending time with.