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

3.98 avg rating
( 2,127 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780060934439: In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo

Known as "the Leopard," the president of Zaire for thirty-two years, Mobutu Sese Seko, showed all the cunning of his namesake -- seducing Western powers, buying up the opposition, and dominating his people with a devastating combination of brutality and charm. While the population was pauperized, he plundered the country's copper and diamond resources, downing pink champagne in his jungle palace like some modern-day reincarnation of Joseph Conrad's crazed station manager.

Michela Wrong, a correspondent who witnessed Mobutu's last days, traces the rise and fall of the idealistic young journalist who became the stereotype of an African despot. Engrossing, highly readable, and as funny as it is tragic, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz assesses the acts of the villains and the heroes in this fascinating story of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

During Mobutu Sese Seko's 30 years as president of Zaire (now the Congo), he managed to plunder his nation's economy and live a life of excess unparalleled in modern history. A foreign correspondent in Zaire for six years, Michela Wrong has plenty of titillating stories to tell about Mobutu's excesses, such as the Versailles-like palace he built in the jungle, or his insistence that he needed $10 million a month to live on. However, these are not the stories that most interest Wrong. Her aim is to understand all of the reasons behind the economic disintegration of the most mineral-rich country on the African continent; in so doing, she turns over the mammoth rock that was Mobutu and finds a seething underworld of parasites with names like the CIA, the World Bank and the IMF, the French and Belgian governments, mercenaries, and a host of fat cats who benefited from Mobutu's largesse and even exceeded his rapaciousness.

Wrong turns first to Belgian's King Leopold II, who instituted a brutal colonial regime in the Congo in order to extract the natural and mineral wealth for his personal gain. Mobutu, with the aid of a U.S. government determined to sabotage Soviet expansion, stepped easily into Leopold's footsteps, continuing a culture built on government-sanctioned sleaze and theft. Under the circumstances, it's hard not to feel some sympathy for the people who survived in the only ways they could--teachers trading passing grades for groceries, hospitals refusing to let patients leave until they paid up, cassava patches cultivated next to the frighteningly unsafe nuclear reactor. What is less comprehensible--and rightly due for an airing--are Wrong's revelations about foreign interventions. Why, for example, did the World Bank and IMF give Mobutu $9.3 billion in aid, knowing full well that he was pocketing most of it?

In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz is a brilliantly conceived and written work, sharply observant and richly described with a necessary sense of the absurd. Wrong paints a far more nuanced picture of the wily autocrat than we've seen before, and of the blatant greed and paranoia of the many players involved in the country's self-destruction. --Lesley Reed

About the Author:

Michela Wrong has worked as a foreign correspondent for Reuters, the BBC, and the Financial Times. She has written about Africa for Slate.com and is a frequent commentator on African affairs in the media. Her first book, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz, won the James Stern Silver Pen Award for Nonfiction. She lives in London.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Wrong, Michela
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2002. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VC-9780060934439

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
5.72
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.01
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Wrong, Michela
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New Quantity Available: 12
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2002. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # IB-9780060934439

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
6.28
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.01
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Wrong, Michela
Published by Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Collins Publishers. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0060934433

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
6.78
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.64
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Michela Wrong
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States (2002)
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Known as the Leopard, the president of Zaire for thirty-two years, Mobutu Sese Seko, showed all the cunning of his namesake -- seducing Western powers, buying up the opposition, and dominating his people with a devastating combination of brutality and charm. While the population was pauperized, he plundered the country s copper and diamond resources, downing pink champagne in his jungle palace like some modern-day reincarnation of Joseph Conrad s crazed station manager. Michela Wrong, a correspondent who witnessed Mobutu s last days, traces the rise and fall of the idealistic young journalist who became the stereotype of an African despot. Engrossing, highly readable, and as funny as it is tragic, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz assesses the acts of the villains and the heroes in this fascinating story of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060934439

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
9.78
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Michela Wrong
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States (2002)
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Known as the Leopard, the president of Zaire for thirty-two years, Mobutu Sese Seko, showed all the cunning of his namesake -- seducing Western powers, buying up the opposition, and dominating his people with a devastating combination of brutality and charm. While the population was pauperized, he plundered the country s copper and diamond resources, downing pink champagne in his jungle palace like some modern-day reincarnation of Joseph Conrad s crazed station manager. Michela Wrong, a correspondent who witnessed Mobutu s last days, traces the rise and fall of the idealistic young journalist who became the stereotype of an African despot. Engrossing, highly readable, and as funny as it is tragic, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz assesses the acts of the villains and the heroes in this fascinating story of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060934439

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
9.84
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Wrong, Michela
Published by Harper Perennial 5/28/2002 (2002)
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New Paperback or Softback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial 5/28/2002, 2002. Paperback or Softback. Book Condition: New. In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz. Book. Bookseller Inventory # BBS-9780060934439

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
9.91
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Wrong, Michela
Published by Harper Perennial (2002)
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New Paperback Quantity Available: 4
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # 0060934433

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
8.56
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 1.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Michela Wrong
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States (2002)
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Known as the Leopard, the president of Zaire for thirty-two years, Mobutu Sese Seko, showed all the cunning of his namesake -- seducing Western powers, buying up the opposition, and dominating his people with a devastating combination of brutality and charm. While the population was pauperized, he plundered the country s copper and diamond resources, downing pink champagne in his jungle palace like some modern-day reincarnation of Joseph Conrad s crazed station manager. Michela Wrong, a correspondent who witnessed Mobutu s last days, traces the rise and fall of the idealistic young journalist who became the stereotype of an African despot. Engrossing, highly readable, and as funny as it is tragic, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz assesses the acts of the villains and the heroes in this fascinating story of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780060934439

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
10.24
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Wrong, Michela
Published by Harper Perennial
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Qwestbooks COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0060934433. Bookseller Inventory # Z0060934433ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
10.90
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Michela Wrong
ISBN 10: 0060934433 ISBN 13: 9780060934439
New Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
ReadWhiz
(Portland, OR, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780060934439_ing

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
11.07
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book