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Six of the Best Books about an African Giant

The ghost of Joseph Conrad haunts the writer of any book about the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Heart of Darkness”, published in 1902, is ultimately a tale of man and mania. But Conrad’s suggestion that there is something about “prehistoric” Congo itself that brings out the darker side of humanity has influenced many bad books by foreign writers keen to show their ostensible courage in reporting from the country. The books recommended here, by contrast, either provide meticulously researched accounts of a traumatic history or show that there is more to this awesome (in every sense) country than violence, graft and poverty. As Congolese prepare to go to the polls in a general election due on December 20th, there is no better time to read them.