'If Gerard Prunier did not exist already, there would be an urgent need for him to be created. The maverick French historian is a genuine rarity, someone who has criss-crossed Africa for 37 years, who can deliver a historical sweep but masters the details. He has battled at times alone to clear the foggy lens through which the continent is viewed.'--The Financial Times 'Mr Prunier, elaborate, anecdotal and discursive, enjoys demolishing the idea that the war is a conspiracy of English-speaking countries to prise Congo away from the French sphere of influence. He points out that despite the intervention of Congo's neighbours in 1998, this was never a world war. [...] Rather, Prunier points out, the genocide in Rwanda acted as an incendiary bomb, setting fire to disputes that go back generations.'--The Economist 'This remarkable book sets out to explain the way in which the 1994 Rwandan genocide triggered what is sometimes termed "Africa's first world war", the conflict in the Congo basin that sucked Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe into war, and ultimately saw the overthrow of the Mobutu regime in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and the death of 4m people.' --The Sunday Times 'The bloodiest modern conflict you've never heard of gets a searching appraisal in this exhaustive history. Africanist Prunier (The Rwanda Crisis) follows the 1996-2002 war in the Democratic Republic of Congo through many bewildering twists and turns. Sparked by a Rwandan army incursion to clear out Hutu-dominated refugee camps on the border between the two countries, the conflict dragged in the armies of eight surrounding countries and an alphabet soup of Congolese guerrilla movements and tribal militias; millions died in the fighting and attendant massacres, starvation and disease. Prunier discerns many layers to the upheaval; a conventional struggle for political control of what had been called Zaire, it was also a multisided act of piracy aimed at looting the country's mineral wealth, an outbreak of generations-long ethnic hatreds and a ghastly symptom of Africa's ongoing crisis of weak and illegitimate governments. The author carefully untangles these complexities while offering unsparing assessments of the participants, including a vigorous indictment of Rwanda's Tutsi leaders for using the 1994 genocide as an excuse for their own atrocities. Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy.'--Publishers Weekly
In late 1996 what had at first seemed like yet another obscure disturbance in the little-known Kivu province of Zaire suddenly grew into a major international conflict. This exploration of the conflict follows on from Prunier's The Rwanda Crisis.