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Jean-Pierre Hallet was an awesome man and larger then life adventurer. He confronted the realities of life in the Belgian Congo in the 1950s and 60s with courage, fascination and reforming zeal. He tells his story with remarkable frankness to the point where there a lot of occasions that I wondered whether this was all for real. He confronted racist colonial administrators, suspicious revolutionaries and leopards with the same steely gaze and sang froid. He earned the trust of local communities who had experienced the roughest treatment of colonialists, but who respected his deep humanity and courage. This simply extra-ordinary book will remain in my mind for a long, long time.
The exploits of this man were almost superhuman. His ability to step inside the heads of tribesmen and a wide dozens of animals is astounding and insightful. He provides insight into African mindsets and culture I'm still processing. I'd call this a must read if you are interested in exceptional exploits or want for insight into African cultures.
This is an absolutely knockout true-life adventure in Africa. Jean-Pierre Hallet tells of 12 action-packed years among the tribes of Africa. He became blood-brother to the tall "Watusi" and the fighter Masai, joined the Bwane Secret Society, lived among cannibals, and went on to share the life of the Congo Pygmies. Hallet was taught the art of killing a lion with a spear by the Masai. Does he succeed? You'll have to read the book to search out. One of the amazing African adventure books told by a man who lived an wonderful life. First Hardcover ver was 1964.
I first read Congo Kitabu in the 60's while in high school and was in awe of this true-life adventure. I nearly got to meet the author but couldn't obtain a ride to where he was speaking. This is one of those books everyone ought to read, because it is a page-turner, but also because it talks about a troubled zone of the planet. This should be read with Out of America by Keith Richberg, a more current view of Africa. This is one of those books you'll never forget--it'll create a lasting impression and you'll wish to read it again.
Um Bongo. The 6th of Johnny Weissmuller’s forays into Jungle Jim’s khaki shorts proves to be a damp squib. It’s low on ideas and crudely constructed by director William Berke. Ok, lets not beat around the jungle bush, for the very young movie fan there is more than enough here to hold them rooted to the sofa. From hilariously poor spider designs to recycled animal fights, there’s no denying that young eyes can have fun whilst feasting on their burgers. Hell, the plot even has some intelligence to it, even if it’s a touch bonkers as drug lords seek to extract narcotic tinged glands from the Okongo, a half horse/zebra/antelope thingy that the makers have created up. But this is all told one of the weakest of the series and feels old hat as regards familiarity breeding contempt. 4/10
I'm always surprised and delighted that people who have endured such hardship (political and economic) can produce melody so full of joy. When I listen to Kekele, I search myself moving to the rhythm without is cd is an especially amazing selection of songs. If you have fun this CD, by all means listen to "Rhumba Congo." No doubt, you'll be dancing too!
If you like the rhythms of salsa, but not the frenetic speed, you will probably have fun these Congolese playing, singing, and dancing "Rumba". Intriguing rhythms, and always happy, upbeat; almost impossible not to smile and begin moving to it..How the Congo in the midst of all its struggle and strife, managed to come up with these folks, and a lot of others like them, is a miracle that I am very grateful for, but do not understand.
If you've never had the joy of hearing African famous melody before, this is a unbelievable put to start. Kinshasha (Congo) guitarist Mose Se Sengo lays down a delicious, exquisite hour of melody that... well, if it doesn't bring a smile and create you begin thinking, "let's dance," you're not fully alive. If you can manage to reflect a bit when you're not just grooving to this unbelievable music, you'll begin thinking about the wonderful encomium of cultures that produced it... the interlocking, wonderful cross-rhythms of African drumming, the feedback from the harmonious encounters with Portuguese folk song and Carribean calypso, the electronics that creep in despite the CD's acoustic orientation... delicious, wonderful. The recording is luminous, and conveys the ambience of little club in which you're a specially invited guest. You won't hear soaring, ego-oriented solos or attention-getting vocals; instead, you'll hear an interleaved, communal rhythmic collective statement that works on you and slowly overwhelms you, teaching you that the little variations in the vocals and rhythms attest to a private and spiritual statement that goes far beyond egoistic melody -- oh heck, listen to this CD!!!!!!!! This ROCKS. And it is very beautiful.
This is happy, mellow music; melody that should be playing while you're relaxing on the porch with a cool is acoustic, as the title suggests, with vocals, guitars, percussion, and shots of brass. It is lively, but not the sort of thing to create you jump up and dance. Rather, it makes you wish to lean back and smile.
As my fourth Munequitos CD in my collection, this may be my favorite. Aside from being an outstanding group historically, they show a form of Rumba tastefully done - always locked in the groove... Amazing soloists, coros and group cohesiveness. This album is a amazing document to a long-standing group. Deservedly regarded as one of Cuba's best... Highly reccommended!
This review has two parts: comments on the story told by the book, and then comments about the book rst, the story. This is Colonel Hoare's private acc of his service in the Congo as a mercenary, helping the Congolese government place down a communist-backed revolt. Colonel Hoare is a amazing author, and his retelling of the happenings makes for a very fascinating read. This book may challenge any preconceptions you have about mercenaries and their use, and give you some insights into the mind of a mercenary commander. It documents the struggles he had getting his mercenary group (5 Commando) organized and trained, and of course their a lot of experiences through 18 months of service, including heart-wrenching accounts of the atrocities inflicted by the rebels on the European (mostly Belgian) is is better than any adventure novel--it really happened. If you are a student of military history, African history, or just like reading these types of stories, I highly recommend this for the book itself (e.g. the paper, binding, print quality, etc.). This is advertised as a reprint. To be more specific, this appears to be a reprint that was created by scanning an earlier printing and then reprinting it. The text is very readable, but is not "clean", like you would expect from a typeset edition. If you've ever scanned a B/W document (at 300 DPI, say) and printed it on your laser or inkjet printer, you'll obtain the idea. It's readable, but not perfect. This has two downsides: first, sometimes the text shows flaws in locations where the scanning was imperfect (the scanning head moved slightly or some such thing). Second, the pictures look like they were printed at very high resolution on a laser printer, and are not the high quality images that appeared in earlier editions of this book.I found this to be disappointing--thirty dollars isn't cheap. I have hardcover books (good ones) that cost less than this book, and for the price I would have hoped that more care and attention would be place into its preparation. Scanning, followed by the use of OCR software and several rounds of proofreading would have resulted in a boot with much better print quality. This may have something to do with the fact that Paladin Press is a little publishing house, and so they may not have the resources to dedicate to making a better-quality reprint. That, or they chose not to use them.I would describe this book as a trade paperback. The quality of the paper and binding seem to be on par with other books of this type that I own. Take care of the book, and it should latest a while, I would , is the book worth the $30 (plus shipping and tax)? If you really wish a book by Colonel Hoare, you don't have much of a choice, as earlier editions of his books are much in demand and very expensive. Personally, I'm happy with it.
Mike Hoare, Congo Mercenary (London: Robert Hall, 1967). A firsthand acc by the head of Commando 5 on a “rabbit shoot” to liberate the eastern Congo (including Stanleyville) from the Congolese rebels. The actual campaign turned out to have been much more difficult and problematical, but showed that in insurgent situations, speed is of the essence in tactical terms, but is most appropriate when coupled with strategic purpose. This work accents discipline and the weeding out “alcoholics, drunks, booze artists, bums and layabouts” who seem drawn to mercenary activity in that (and any other) era. The author also shows how “Column warfare from an infantryman’s point of view is most unsatisfactory.” Rough justice is also dealt out, not just to the “Simbas” but to mercenaries who act up (one who rapes a Congolese woman and then kills her has both of his huge toes shot off by Hoare). Stanleyville is indeed “the “Inner Station” of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.” The book ends with the military coup of Joseph Mobutu who ousts President Kasavubu and Prime Minister Moise Tshombe. Mobutu would rule the Congo for decades, loot it of billions of dollars and never pay his mercenaries or his troops enough to hold them from behaving lawlessly. Penny wise and pound [email protected]#$%! would appear.
First off I wish to say, like a lot of reviewers have already stated, that Col. Mike Hoare is a superb writer. He has an wonderful grasp on the English language and he writes seamlessly and perfectly. This makes for an enjoyable aspect of this book that really captured my interest was the undeniably romanticized notions of adventure I think we commonly associate with mercenary life. To this end, Col. Hoare delivers in brilliant fashion. We start with him detailing the rebellion and the chaos and confusion that followed his offer to form a mercenary unit, which he comes to call 5 Commando. He info the recruiting process, the vetting out of the less-then-desirable men, the short training they received, and the arms and equipment they were issued- although this was a challenge unto itself. Throughout the book he also info the strategies used, why he chose to give the orders he did, and the challenges they faced when executing these plans- in some cases relying heavily on luck.I found it infinitely insightful how the globe news media hampers his every move. These journalists approach the situation with a per-conceived notion that mercenaries are scum (getting paid to slay your fellow man is something most have problems with), and thus create their reports to fit this image, despite the numerous innocent civilians -both black and white in skin color- that his men save. Although this was a minor, albeit consistent, theme throughout the book, I felt it really opens one's eyes to the bias nature of news reporting on war. We all know news media loves to report on sensational stories, even if that means embellishing the story, but we see in this book the adverse affects it so similar to this theme, is how the communist globe gets in an uproar in help of the rebels, and we see first hand the how and why of these cold-war proxy wars. Each side puts blinders on, refusing to acknowledge the horrible atrocities committed by it's side, while promoting those committed by the other side, and much like the bias reporters, only focus on what they wish to see/hear.Another thing I thought was interesting was how the book was split into 3 sections. During the first one, we obtain a taste of the challenges faced by 5 Commando is training and fighting. Both the mercs and rebels are poorly trained. The rebels war with spears and WWII-vintage German Mauser rifles. As the book progresses, so too does the quality of soldering on both sides, as the Commandos obtain more training, better leadership, better arms and equipment, etc. But again, the rebels likewise start to improve in quality; Cuban advisers arrive to lead them, Chinese Aks and artillery start to arrive, and so forth. Although this is a real story through and through, I enjoyed how the book played out like a traditional story, increasing more and more in tension, with Col. Hoare always on the verge of defeat, and as the tension builds, it comes to a climatic l in all I enjoyed every bit of this book and look forward to reading Col. Mike Hoare's other books. Highly recommended.
I had first read this book back in the '80's and have wanted to re-read it a lot of times over the years. The story is just as compelling now as it was decades ago, and one huge improvement is the quality of this paperback over the pulp paper ver I had read back then. Hoare tell his story intelligently and seems to go out of his method to avoid self-aggrandizement in this acc of 5 Commando's key role in the Congo's war versus communist rebels in the '60's. While there is nothing in Hoare's writing that gives method to gratuitous detail, he starkly describes the vileness and viciousness of the rebels they were fighting. Those who like sanitized, revisionist history will likely offended.
This is an invaluable, extremely well-written acc of the mercenaries recruited to war in the Congo during the rebellion of 1964-1965. [As a Foreign Service Officer I encountered Mike Hoare and his mercenaries in Kindu, Coquilhatville, and Paulis.] Major (later Colonel) Hoare had an unusual background for a mercenary commander. Born in India, in Globe Battle II he served in the London Irish Rifles (perhaps in a staff position) and was mustered out as captain. He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1948 and then immigrated to South Africa, where he ran safaris and enjoyed sailing his little 1960-1961 he formed a mercenary force to serve Moise Tshombe in the breakaway province of Katanga in the Congo. Three years later, soon after Tshombe was named prime minister of the Congo, Hoare was summoned to Leopoldville, where he was charged by Tshombe and General Joseph Desire Mobutu to recruit, train, and lead a group of hundreds of mercenaries. For practical reasons, recruitment offices were established in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. Hoare assembled hundreds of mercenaries, few of whom were experienced soldiers. He weeded out a number of recruits immediately and then provided brief training to the remainder. His 5 Commando included about 300 mercenaries who were initially organized in five troops stationed in central and eastern Congo. In August 1964 'rebels' controlled over half of the Congo and were threatening to topple the Leopoldville government. I search it astonishing that Hoare was able to recruit and train a disparate group of mercenaries and then provide uncommon leadership in a catch-as-catch-can series of military engagements. His acc of how he accomplished this should be highlighted in any chronicle of effective 'irregular soldiers.' Logistics and tactical intelligence were skimpy, his chain of command with the ANC (Congolese National Army) and Belgian military was ill defined, and his mercenaries were involved in massive fighting from the outset. Hoare presents a detailed acc of the men under his command, how he identified and promoted key officers and noncoms, and how he provided unflappable leadership as he improvised on a everyday basis. Despite modest pay and dreadful living conditions, his men displayed an esprit de corps that would be the envy of any professional army. The sense of camaraderie, as mercenaries were killed in a never-ending series of military engagements, was far various than what Americans learned about Hessian mercenaries during the Battle of Independence. Hoare's initial basic objective was to participate in assaults leading to the capture of Stanleyville, the headquarters of the Congolese rebel government. One group of mercenaries moved eastward from Coquilhatville, while the main mercenary body fought from Albertville to Kindu and onward towards Stanleyville. An overriding concern of the American and Belgian governments was the safety of over 3,000 foreigners who were being held hostage by the rebel government. Hoare envisaged that his force, supplemented by ANC soldiers and a group of Belgian military (whether 'mercenaries' or seconded by the Belgian government) would be able to sweep into Stanleyville and rescue these hostages. Another objective of Hoare's mercenaries was to rescue foreigners and Congolese who were being threatened and killed by the rebels. In Kindu, for example, at amazing private risk these mercenaries sallied forth to rescue tons of priests and nuns, as well as foreign residents who had been trapped in this maelstrom. In Stanleyville, Hoare's contingent arrived hours after a parachute attack by Belgium's elite Red Brigade saved the lives of the amazing majority of the foreign hostages. The U. S. and Belgium, in launching this attack, were extremely sensitive to African and globe opinion. Dragon Rouge (Stanleyville) was followed, two days later, by Dragon Noir, in which Belgian parachutists swept into Paulis, in northwest Congo, and then swiftly withdrew. Hoare's contingent was left to provide security in Stanleyville and, over the coming months, to foray throughout much of Orientale Province fighting rebels ("Simbas") and rescuing foreigners who often were being tortured and killed. This was a nasty slog where a little band of mercenaries and ANC units faced frequent ambushes from a sizable Simba force. They had several advantages: they were organized as a cohesive force with dynamic leadership and then received constant air help from the Congolese Air Force (organized and run by CIA and staffed by Cubans often recruited from Bay of Pigs veterans). Improvising daily, these mercenaries suffered significant casualties as they steadfastly pursued the rescue of trapped foreigners while killing countless Simba. The stories of those foreigners that they rescued and the circumstances in which they discovered brutally murdered hostages seemed only to strengthen the resolve of Hoare and his mercenaries. While the Belgians were supportive of Hoare's operations, his basic backers were Prime Minister Tshombe and General Mobutu, both of whom Hoare held in the highest regard. Often the mercenaries established civilian government in the towns they captured. They were also skilled in providing a sense of security that encouraged local tribes to turn versus their Simba invaders. Once the northeast Congo was reasonably secure, Tshombe and Mobutu encouraged Hoare to focus on 'cleaning up' a rebel-infested zone in eastern Congo. By then a lot of of the mercenary contracts had expired. Some of his key men had been killed or badly wounded. A substantial number of Hoare's initial contingent left the Congo, while others signed up to serve another tour with Hoare. Recruitment of hundreds of extra mercenaries became more difficult. Hoare was ruthless in screening fresh recruits and sent a number packing after a rigorous initial interview. His reconstituted mercenary force then set off for months of an extraordinarily difficult military campaign in which the rebels were increasingly better armed and trained. Weapons were flowing in from across the border in Uganda and Burundi and some Cuban 'volunteers' were engaged with the Simbas. Hoare maintained an esprit de corps as his little band of mercenaries, often improvising, endured ambushes and mortar attacks, as they systematically cleared an zone of thousands of square miles. During this constant and risky fighting, Hoare lost a number of his key officers nad noncoms, whose bravery was commonplace. One wonders why these men suffered such hardships and everyday life-and-death situations on a modest mercenary's pay. I can only ascribe this to Hoare's uncommon leadership and the sense of camaraderie that impelled them to war in a strange land with no true prospect of 'victory.' Hoare, at Mobutu's insistence, had extended his contract once. When Hoare's hero, Tshombe, was ousted by President Kasavubu, and then Mobutu,another Hoare hero, initiated a military coup, Hoare decided it was time to package it in. He turned over his mercenary command and departed to South Africa to rejoin his wife and son. CONGO MERCENARY, initially written in 1967, describes a facet of Congolese history that, even today, is known by relatively few observers. While the word 'mercenary' has pejorative connotations in the Western world, the mercenaries that Hoare shaped and commanded bring to mind Henry V's St. Crispin's Day oration: FROM THIS DAY TO THE ENDING OF THE WORLD, BUT WE FEW, WE HAPPY FEW, WE BAND OF BROTHERS; FOR HE TODAY THAT SHEDS HIS BLOOD WITH ME SHALL BE MY BROTHER; BE HE NE'ER SO VILE, THIS DAY SHALL GENTLE HIS CONDITION' AND GENTLEMEN IN ENGLAND NOW-A-BED SHALL THINK THEMSELVES ACCURS'D THEY WERE NOT HERE, AND HOLD THEIR MANHOODS CHEAP WHILES ANY SPEAKS THAT FOUGHT WITH US ON SAINT CRISPIN'S ME PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS Describing the happenings of the 1964-1965 Congolese rebellion reminds me of Akira Kurosawa's classic RASHOMON. Everyone saw it from their own perspective. Lloyd Garrison of the NEW YORK TIME endeavored to write a book on the Congo of the early 1960s. I remember when he called me and lamented that all his sources told a various story. Eventually, he abandoned his Congo book project. I have my own private perspective. I worked in and on the Congo from 1960 to 1966. During the period described my Mike Hoare, I was the Congo analyst in the State Department's INR/Africa (research and intelligence) om May through November 1964, except for vacation and my time back in the Congo, I wrote daily, early morning Congo situation reports for The Secretary, the White House, and about 40 other people in the Washington community. I became a 'point man' for what became the Belgian/U. S. military assault on Stanleyville and Paulis. I early concluded that this was the 'least worst' option to rescue the 3,300 foreigners being held hostage by an increasingly volatile, Stanleyville-based rebel government. In October 1964 I complained to the director of INR/Africa that we were getting no first-hand info from our embassy in Leopoldville on what was event in the complex military efforts to conquer the rebels and to rescue foreign hostages. I volunteered to go into rebel-infested provinces, which I did with a White House/State Department ter the fall of Stanleyville, I volunteered to return to the Congo to gather material for an official history of the Congolese rebellion through November 24, 1964. This I did with a CIA/State Department mandate. During my 1964-1965 trips to the Congo I found that:* Members of the Political Section of the embassy had never ventured outside of Leopoldville to report on what what occurring;* When I returned from my solo sorties into rebel-infested provinces, no one, except for the ambassador (with whom I was residing), expressed any interest in what I had uncovered (including two sacks of documents from the Kindu headquarters of General Olenga, which had been abandoned in amazing haste as Hoare's mercenaries approached);* While I had observed the Cuban pilots of the Congolese Air Force, no info of its role in Congo fighting ever came from the embassy (or from CIA intelligence reports shared with the State Department). The principal objective of my October-November 1964 trips into the Congo hinterland was to determine whether Stanleyville could be captured and the thousands of foreign hostages could be rescued by Hoare's mercenaries approaching from the south. Upon my return to Washington, I emphatically stated "No!". After encountering Hoare's mercenaries in Kindu, I thought it highly probable that this lightly-equipped force could be delayed for hours outside of Stanleyville, during which time virtually all the hostages would be slaughtered. (Though Hoare was confident that he could easily sweep into Stanleyville, in fact his column was delayed for hours by withering machine gun and mortar fire. Without the landing of Belgian paratroopers, persons I later interviewed in Stanleyville and elsewhere unanimously said that the hostages would have been killed without the Belgian/U. S. military action.( I encountered different mercenary groups during my 1964 and 1965 returns to the Congo. Learning about the mercenaries was ancillary to my basic objectives. Still, I gathered some impressions:* In Coquihatville, I encountered a rather rag-tag group of mercenaries led by Lt. Mueller, who stood out because of the Iron Cross he wore. [I was reminded of my written briefing for Governor Averill Harriman, as he prepared to meet with Belgian Foreign Minister Paul-Henri Spaak in early August, only days after the fall of Stanleyville. Based in part on perfect tribal reporting by David Grinwis, who was the CIA representative at our Stanleyville consulate, I concluded that the military insurrection in eastern Congo was spearheaded by Batatela/Bakuso tribesmen under General Olenga. Contrary to U. S. planning ('needed 10,000 units and 140 C-130s'), I concluded that the rigor of this tribal force would dissipate, once it experienced the urban life of Stanleyville and the politics of the rebel government. I advised Harriman that a well-organized group of 35 mercenaries could stop the rebel military move towards Coquilhatville. In fact it was stopped by 17 mercenaries and a tribe of pygmies with poison darts.]* In Kindu, I appeared with an M-16 and a .45. Because I was the only person with a flashlight, I participated in the evening military planning sessions. I was impressed by Hoare and his mercenaries. He seemed to maintain firm discipline regarding keeping weapons clean and cars maintained. I did not hear of any looting. The mercenary rescue of tons of priests and nuns was a remarkable achievement. The ANC was in the process of killing several captured rebels. I chose to stop this. With my M-16 I confronted a platoon of ANC soldiers. After some hesitation, the lieutenant turned over the prisoners. I place them in the back of a jeep, had a mercenary priest riding shot gun help in getting these prisoners to a field hospital and then on a plane to Albertville the next morning.* In March 1965 I was in Paulis. Rebels were close by. I slept in a hut latest inhabited by nuns who had been brutally murdered. My security was an empty beer bottle leaning versus the door and a cocked .45 by my bed.I encountered members of the 53rd Groupement. They were Southern Rhodesian mercenaries. From their tales, I concluded that they were robbers and thugs. One day their cook (who only spoke Lingala) served them the wrong type of potato. The cook was hoisted up on a truck and shot. Later I was with the local Congolese administrator, who had just returned from hiding in the bush. The commander of the 53rd Groupement came by and said hr 'wanted to slay the @#$%!&.' I slipped the safety off my .45 and asked whether he thought that I could slay him before he killed the Congolese.He backed off, at least while I was there. A distinctly various type of mercenary was also in Paulis. This was a group of Europeans. They seemed well organized and were putting armor plating on their vehicles. Hoare's second in command arrived on a C-46 piloted by a Cuban. Carlos, the pilot, misjudged and hit a heavy ant hill. While mercenaries were exchanging cash with the squad of a C-130,I and several others rescued Hoare's aide from the crumpled C-46 with gas streaming from its fuel tanks. I found much of what Hoare wrote in CONGO MERCENARY highly credible and a fascinating acc of who the mercenaries were and what they accomplished. Hoare was mistaken to ascribe the rebellion to the 'Communists.' I had heavy intelligence to prove that this was not the case, at least through 1964. Arms that seeped across the Sudanese and other borders almost all came from African countries that were endeavoring to aid the rebels. A lot of of these amm may have been of communist origin.Hoare was totally involved in tactical military operations. Thus he was ill informed as to what was transpiring in Leopoldville, Washington, and elsewhere. As a Foreign Service Officer I was appalled by the lack of meaningful military reporting from embassy Leopldville during the months leading up to the recapture of Stanleyville. This silence continued in the subsequent months, when Hoare's mercenaries were pacifying a lot of thousands of square miles of rebel-infested location and rescuing tons of foreign hostages. I conclude with tremendous admiration for what Colonel Hoare and his mercenaries accomplished. I regret that this has not been acknowledged in State Department reporting.
This is a amazing book for those interested in mercenary battle in Africa, which has long been one of my interests.If you liked the film "Dogs of War" for example, this might be a book you would like.I also liked books by authors such as J.F.C. Fuller and Deneys Reitz on different earlier battles in Africa. "Congo Mercenary" gives a more modern example that helps fill out the picture, and gave me some factual info filling in gaps in my historical knowledge.
Col. Hoare is a very amazing writer. His book was an interesting look at the conflict in the early days of independence of the former Belgian Congo. The writer did not hesitate to discuss his failures as well as his successes while giving his opinion of the main participants in the Congo's early struggle to emerge from colonial rule. I would recommend this book be included in any study of that period of African history to give the reader a balanced view of the happenings that took place.
In both vignettes and travel journal format, Irene tells of her Peace Corps experience in Zaire and Malawi, Africa. The imagery she provides makes you feel you are there as she crosses a bamboo plank bridge into her African experience. The book will create you feel wonder and amazement at the rugged beauty of the African continent, and the resilience of its people. At age 46 and later at age 69, Irene gave up a settled prosperous lifestyle in Key West, Florida to create a difference in the lives of others less fortunate by joining the Peace Corps. Through her thoughtful and humor filled writing your eyes visualize her experiences, and you too are there living vicariously through her words. This book is both informative, enjoyable, and will definitely excite your adventurous spirit. Have fun reading it as I urel Borgia, Ph.D.
A must-have if you are into reggae. This is a classic album and features all of the trademark studio trickery from Lee Perry's Black Ark e audio quality is good--despite the typical jamaican pressing flaws of 'dimples' on the record. I don't know what causes them but a lot of my Jamaican albums have them. But, as I said, it seems to play just fine.
Along with Bunny Wailer's Blackheart Man and Culture's Two Sevens Clash, The Heart of the Congos represents one of the monumental summits of reggae is is 70s reggae at its most complex, haunting and deeply massive best. Ethereal falsetto harmonies, chanting background vocals from a chorus including Gregory Isaacs, guitar by Ernest Ranglin all amount to the excellent primer to both the glory days of Jamaican roots melody and the peculiar genius of producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. Perry drew up the blueprint for dub reggae in the cauldron of his legendary Black Ark studio. This album is considered to be the masterpiece of Perry's Black Ark amazing as this is, it must be said that the one-CD ver currently sold by VP records is highly inferior to the remastered two-cd, now out of print, Blood and Fire version. Seek out the Blood and Fire ver due to the expanded number of tracks it contains, including gems such as "Solid Foundation" and "At the Feast" as well as the vastly better sound quality. I am far from an audiophile, but the VP ver sounds muddy whereas the Blood and Fire ver sounds crisp and clean -- the instruments distinct.If it becomes impossible to search the Blood and Fire ver used, the VP ver may suffice, but it would be a shame to see such a shining work not presented in its full luster.
In my opinion the best reggae album I have ever heard. From the first listen of the original vinyl I was hooked. I played it over and over again for days. It was all I wanted to hear. The vibe of this album is just fantastic! Totally up. My private favs are "Fisherman", "Children Crying", "La La Bam-Bam", "Ark Of The Covenant" and of course the otherworldy, transcendant power of "Open Up The Gate". Now, initially I was a bit place off by the sub-par sound quality of the original release vinyl. The opening track, "Fisherman" has very noticable drop-outs and the album as a whole has different issues with eq and tape hiss. I attempted remastering the album myself a few times but I was never quite satisfied with the results. The dropouts in "Fisherman" especially bothered me. Luckily, the album was professionaly remastered and re-released on cd as the "Blood & Fire" edition. Included in this edition is a thick booklet which has a detailed explaination of the limitations of the original master tapes (which were quarter inch, recorded on a Teac 4-track!). Apparently the tapes were not very well preserved. Although the mastering engineers used all the recent technology to test to eliminate tape hiss and drop-outs, in the end they still couldn't create it perfect. Most of the tape hiss was generated by Lee "Scratch" Perry's practice of bouncing tracks (mixing multiple instruments together on one track to free up the other tracks; a necessity if you are recording on a 4-track machine) and they opted to let some tape hiss in order to preserve the original fidelity of the recording. They also claim that they couldn't do anything about the dropouts in "Fisherman" but from my estimation they cleaned them up rather well. The dropouts of hardly noticable at all on the remastered cd. The frequency spectrum has a much better balance as well. I highly recommend the remastered Blood & Fire edition! The versions of most of the songs are longer and it contains some songs not featured on the original release, plus a gift disc of 12" remixes and b-sides. Although the sound quality isn't perfect, (compared to other Jamaican reggae recordings from this era, or earlier; like Bob Marley's original tracks for "Catch A Fire" or Mighty Diamonds "Right Time") the inventiveness of the Lee "Scratch" Perry's production style and the songwriting and performances are all incredible. Also knowing that the remastered ver is as amazing as it can obtain makes it easier to accept the slight flaws in production and/or engineering. All in all it's hard to say exactly what it is that makes this album so enjoyable. It's as if everything just came together; the songs, the music, the vocals, the effects, the vibe...a excellent moment in time. In my opinion, you would be very hard pressed to search a better reggae album than this. It is sheer bliss!
If you collected the best cuts from all of Bob Marley's records, this one would still top it. Why? First of all, the production by Lee 'Scratch' Perry, is sheer genius even though it was recorded on a Teac 4-track machine as late as 1976! You feel like you're getting pulled into a cave by the mixture of spacy ambience and monstrously deep bass and drums. Second, the vocals by Cedric Myton and Roydel Johnson are beyond genius, they're magical, like a combination of Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye floating in outer space. Third, there's a defenite all encompassing amazing humor or 'postive vibration' underlying things even when the lyrics are quite serious. It doesn't test to drive its point home with a hammer but rather convinces all the more effectively with the unrelenting beauty of the music. I repeat, you cannot do better than this record if you like Reggae and Soul music.
The melody documented on this LP has seen better transcriptions (see the available, re-mastered CD from Blood & Fire). Amazing transcriptions show the melody and the harmonies in a unbelievable fashion. If you have fun Ska with a Rasta flavor then this is one of the best sessions/mixes ever, this ver of those sessions does not do the melody justice. The product contains 2 LPs. I recieved what appeared to be a VP factory sealed product that included one LP (the title LP) which was scuffed, marred, with suface scratches and ripped labels on both sides. The second LP was in better shape, but hardly what one considers today to be grade B. The sound on each (when not interrupted by multiple scratches and surface noise) was thin and distant. Too bad. The second LP included different tracks from subsequent work by the principals mirroring some of the content on the Blood & Fire CD. Go with the Blood & Fire, it is worth the additional money.
This is absolutely attractive music. Although the lyrics are very much along the lines of typical spiritual and Rastafarian themes, this is not your typical reggae. The melody really centers around the harmonies of the voices, including the extraordinary falsetto of the lead singer. The instrumentation is sparse, and is in fact mainly percussion. You obtain 2 CDs, but the second one is full of alternate versions and does not add a whole lot to the package. Still, an extraordinary recording,a nd well worth a listen.
The basic attraction of this very old CD is Lee "Scratch" Perry's production. The Congos are soulful singers around which Perry creates a relatively sensuous soundscape. The lyrics, however, are hardly profound and don't rise up to level of Bob Marley, etc. And while the production is quite creative, the sound quality is relatively poor, likely the effect of heavy overdubbings. That said, if you wish a nice cheerful reggae album to play on a Sunday morning, you won't do much better.
I was expecting an album of African music, ala "Missa Luba". What I got was renditions of a couple of well-known Christmas songs and a few African songs. A lot of the album consisted of Earth Kitt reading African folk tales. That's alright if that's what you're looking for, but it's disappointing if you're buying the album to hear the specific kind of melody for which the Troubadours du Roi Baudouin are known.
My parents played this album throughout my childhood every Christmas, and it brings me such joy to hear these songs now. It was an interesting time in America in the early 1960's, when people were exploring melody from other countries often for the first time. For me, this album equals Christmas spirit!
If you're looking for something various in terms of holiday music, check out this CD reissue of the 1963 recording Christmas in the Congo, originally issued on the Philips label. Included are 16 Congolese songs performed by Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin, a boys choir formed by Father Haazen shortly after he arrived in Africa in the early 1950s. Following a tour of Europe, Les Troubadours became world-renowned, resulting in a recording contract with Philips. This was their second release and, since it’s less than 30 minutes, the additional zone has been filled by “Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa," narrated by the one and only Eartha Kitt, which should please young and old alike. - See more at: [...]
I bought this book for my fresh kindle after hearing Anjan Sundarum on the Jon Stewart show. So glad I did. A few years ago Sundarum, a math student at Yale, of Indian descent and born in Dubai, decided to change his path and immerse himself in the Congo, aka the Belgian Congo under King Leopold and Zaire in the reign of Mobutu, who had assassinated, with CIA approval, Patrice Lumumba, the country's best hope for a true democracy. This is the Congo backstory that Sundarum uses as his ndarum chose a living arrangement with a family in one of Kinshasa's slums (he had no cash for a amazing hotel room, nor did he wish one), slowly developed his contacts, and became a stringer for the Associated Press, traveling to locations in the lawless gold and diamond-rich country where necessary journalists never ventured.What he produced in "Stringer" is far more than a tale of a young man's adventure. It is an illuminating acc of how, and why, one African country blessed with amazing natural riches has continually failed to lift its people out of poverty. The causes are complex. Occasionally I found Sundarum's reasoning a bit too pat. But he succeeds brilliantly in explaining the Congo like no other writer I've read.
In 2006 at 22 years of age, having just graduated from Yale in mathematics and being offered a lucrative career in a financial institution, Anjan Sundaram becomes of aware of the amazing carnage of the battle in Democratic Republic of the Congo (often referred to as Congo) and being young idealistic and unaware of his own mortality decided to embark on a career as a journalist and room with the brother of a woman who worked at his bank. Sundaram bought a one method ticket to Congo without having secured a position for a news ringer starts with Anjan chasing a boy through the roads who has stolen his phone. He is unable to recover it and things go from poor to worse. The memoir becomes The Perils Of Anjan in the Congo. I wanted to encourage him to go home and assure him that his parents would welcome him and a life in a financial institution couldn't be all bad. He did however stick it out and he did start to search success as a journalist even though he continued to search himself in risky situations he didn't back away.I did search his description of life, politics and globe dynamics interesting and enlightening:"We currently live in what some say is the Fourth Amazing Pillage--others call it the Fifth or Sixth. The globe now needs cell phones, and Congo includes 60 percent of known reserves of an essential metal called tantalum. It is the curse: each progress in the globe produces some fresh suffering."I encouraged anyone interested in the Congo to read this and if you are interested in learning more about this book and author has a website in which you can access other articles written by him and videos in which he appears.[...]
I have had a fascination with the Congo since I first visited it in the 1960s. I was there roughly the same time as when Belgium missionaries were killed and ritually cannibalized. Over a period of a couple of years I observed conditions that are unchanged today according to this book. For example, on the airport terminal stairwell ascending to the second floor restaurant was a bathroom. When I first saw it the stairwell was pockmarked with bullet holes and blood spatters and the bathroom toilets were non operational and overflowing; two years later nothing had changed but the toilets were in everyday use. I required a Congolese drivers license which necessitated a trip to the outskirts of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa); the troops camp where I got the license was patrolled by kid soldiers carrying rifles. The tragedy is that nothing has changed in 50 years; in fact they may have worsened. Yet this country and it people fascinate me and it tugs at my heart strings. A sad, memorable and extremely well written book about a people that the globe has written off. A amazing read.
The author hits the ground running and then next thing you know, you've reached the end. It is a collection of unusual and shocking happenstances for the journalist. While the stories aren't really similar in a through and through storyline, they do come together to give a very true (seeming) acc of a "day in the life" in Congo. The fact that the author was always hustling to search and sell stories back in the West gave the experience a relatable tone. A nice divergence from such day to day accounts from mission trips and NGOs.
An interesting memoir of Sundaram's experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Having completed school as a brilliant mathmetician, Sundaram gives this up and moves to the DRC to be a journalist. With no training and limited finances, he works his method through DRC hoping to search success as a journalist. Interesting, well-written memoir which provides an examination of DRC much various than the experiences I am having.
Most authentic Congo memoir I've read. Although the author is well educated, he doesn't write condescendingly. I doubt he is really short on funds, though he lives like it. Interesting to hear tidbits about the immigrant populations/minority groups in the Congo - other that those from neighboring countries. I especially enjoyed this book because the author did not stop the story every few pages to copy/paste a list of facts, figures, and dates that sound like a reference book, but rather he cleverly worked them into the well-written chapters that don't read like journal entries. Thank you Anjan! I look forward to reading your next book.
This honest and disturbing acc of a young man's determination to place himself where things were happening, i.e., in the situation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where greatest danger lay, to establish his career as a journalist. It info the unfortunate effect of the Congolese determination to push back versus outsiders who would exploit the region's rich resources and simple path to leadership for those who promise to do that and quickly enrich the country's not good -- who, when elected, are quickly corrupted by the absolute power and wealth available to those who collaborate with the exploiters.
Even though this is a fairly short book I had problem getting into it. It was reviewed positively on NPR and recommended by Fareed Zakaria; you can't obtain much higher in my view. Sundaram does a amazing job of conveying the tedium of reporting in Congo, until it becomes terror. So the tedium of the first part of the book was frustrating, but was compensated for by a amazing second part. Sundaram is to be congratulated for staying with his original pursuit.
I was drawn to reading this book because I was specifically looking for a memoir by a person of color from the West (not of African decent) writing about Africa. This came recommended after Anjan's appearances on TV. While he is not a US citizen, He does lend the perspective of being privileged (educated and having the means to come to the Congo) in this zone of the world. I was hoping there would be more detail about how he had to negotiate or learned more about his own marginalized identity in his travels, and there are moments where he meets other Indians living in the Congo and talks about that. And (spoiler) how difficult it was to search an embassy to take him in at the end. I feel that it very much is more journalistic than a memoir as I am really left to react emotionally to what he is experiencing. He has some interesting detail at the top about what he left behind to go to the Congo, but I feel he has missed an opportunity during the more stressful opportunities of the action, to not address regretting having gone there and leaving his old life behind. I appreciate that he talks about how small this region is reported on and paints a picture of exactly what a journalist must endure to work out there. I just want I had more emotional detail of what he was experiencing. I am giving 4 stars because I think he is an ambitious person to have done this.
Anarchy is not merely the absence of government. It is a method of organizing a group of people and has remarkable stability, particularly if outside powers largely control it, or at least war over it. Think of a group of predators fighting over the kill. The only thing certain is that the slay stays dead. The book is the direct private experiences of Anjan Sundaram, a young man apparently from a privileged and sheltered background who launches his career of would be international reporter by just going to the Congo with very small to help and protect him. His contemplations as well as his day to day experiences seem honest and very well written and hence very compelling.
Published in 1899, Joseph Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS is like a fingerpost for its time, pointing the method of human preoccupations as they probed the final frontiers left in the globe to discover, both geographically and intrapersonally, equipped only with a 19th century worldview. Where fear and discomfort with the unknown had once been associated with leaving land and heading into the begin sea, Conrad now placed it in turning inward, turning from the sea up a river that penetrates an unknown is is the story similar one night to a group of London dwellers gathered on a dock boat in the safety and familiarity of the Thames. The speaker, a garrulous veteran seaman named Marlow, remembers how as a younger man he had pushed for the adventurous assignment of taking a steamboat up the Congo in find of a company's missing agent, Kurtz. His is a tale of horror, of what can happen to a person disengaged from civilization as it is known. This is an atmospheric exploration of knowledge, experience, innocence and morality. Conrad's language is complex but not opaque, has action but also a lot of description. As Virginia Woolf once said, Conrad could not write badly to save his own at his vision requires rooting the horror in a hostile jungle culture and its customs can show a issue for a contemporary audience. The Modern Library has done a amazing job in introducing this edition with notable criticism, positive and negative, excerpted from across the 20th century, including pieces by Mencken, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and, more recently, Chinua Achebe. This edition also contains passages from Conrad's 1890 journal when he was traveling in the Congo. Several various publishers are publishing this novel, but this edition is the best I found.
I've had to read this for a few classes and I'm not a large fan. The writing is a bit dense. I'm not particularly knowledgeable about literature, but I know there's quite a bit of analysis to be done here. I see this as more of a private preference thing- I'd rather be reading Louise Gluck or Tracy Brimhall, that's all.
I have been following these brave ladies for a number of years now. I had heard parts of the story, but I was really not prepared for the whole story as presented in the book. This is a story of survival and determination versus seemingly impossible odds and almost constant danger. You won't be able to place this book down. Go ahead and buy an additional box of Kleenex. This and one of the attractive bags these ladies sew would create a Christmas bonus that would hold on giving.
The story of the women and their families that is told in this book is eye-opening, thought-provoking, motivating, and heart-touching. It is a captivating story written in an interesting style that kept my attention and created for a relatively fast read. Major themes in the book are: community; friendship; faith (religious and otherwise); plight of refugees; poverty; family ties; sacrifices created by mothers; life with a physical disability; hope in spite of fear. Despite the book’s descriptions of the tragedies and hardships that Argentine, Mapendo, and their families have lived through, their resilience and hopeful attitudes created it an uplifting story; the book left me with a pervasive feeling of hope and faith for my own life and the world, no matter what the future holds. There are thoughtful discussion questions at the end of the book that would be amazing for use by a book-discussion group.
"I laughed and cried and remain in awe of this strong saga. This real story, for me, is nothing short of miraculous- a testament to human (and especially female) strength, power, ingenuity and unfailing this book. Keep these women in your heart. Learn from them."Joyce Buonfiglio
Prepare to be amazed by this heartwarming story of courage and love. The women of Shona Congo are remarkable. Their strength versus such wonderful odds is breathtaking. Through so much adversity, their joy and faith shine through. Their story inspires me to be a better person and hopefully will inspire you as well!
I’ve been buying Shona Congo bags for years and getting compliments every time I have one with me. I’ve generally known these ladies’ stories from their website, and I ordered the book when it first came out.I just started reading it today and could NOT place it down!!! Learning more about these women create me love them all the more. Their faith, hope, and courage are never ending and incredibly inspirational. This is a book that will stay in my bookshelf forever, to be read over and over again.
I fell into the pages of this book and the story it told. I love the writers' style. It couldn't have been more perfect. Telling a tragic yet hopeful story with simplicity of words, it was able to impact and move my heart like no book has for a lot of years. Clear. Honest. Inspiring. Beautiful. Current. Miraculous. Am now buying more copies to give as gifts. Will read this book again and again.
I have been following the Shona women's stories for a number of years. What a privilege to read more of their story of courage and resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. If you wish to know what it looks like to have faith when the globe is falling apart, to lean into family and relationships when resources are scarce and survival is paramount, to be brave when danger is all around you, to be joyfully resilient when you are surrounded by battle and suffering, to grieve what is lost and throw yourself wholeheartedly into an unknown future, to learn to do what no one thinks you can do, to make art in the middle of a war, to believe in the power of love when you see only destruction, to truly live...then read this awesome story of these awesome women. To know their story is to be changed. And if you are anything like me, you will want you lived next door to them to just soak in even a small of their joy, love, and strength.
The amazing photography aside, the book presentation is innovative but very ginger. I'm afraid of cracking the spine on this attractive work of art every time I wish to read it. The whole pack is held together with a heavy-duty rubber band (cool concept) and the book itself is just bound pages. It is a keepsake that I will treasure but can't return to too a lot of times for fear of breaking e photography is not VII's best showing. A lot of of the photos are quiet and misreable in tone. The photographers move through brothels and hospitals, measuring the poor toll of the senseless and endless battle in the Congo. As far as a full panorama of the conflict goes, this misses the target. Still, if you are a fan of reportage then this book is a must.
I own over a thousands books on a wide range of topics regarding Africa. This is THE BEST book in plain english about what life is like in a central african tribe from the perspective on an African. I have also traveled to the congo and other countries for research. This book gets it right, helping to make a cohesive picture of life there without a bunch on anthropological, higher instition speak. A must, must te the this book would have a 5 star overall rating except someone who wrote a positive review forgot to vote.
Kianza's Congo is the inside story of black life in the Congo. Written by a man who lived 10 years with the tribes. He spoke their language, witnessed their customs, and learned of secret e life of Chief Kianza is told in Kianza's own words and translated by his confidant Mr. Daems. The book contains suspense, sex, politics, power, and even an experience of slavery. To be accepted in the male elite guild you must pass tough rituals, or die trying. These and more are described in this perfect book. This is REAL AFRICAN LIFE.
Oh man, I love love love this music. Listen to the guitar and the rhythms and the sweet vocals and allow the entire intoxicating musical cocktail sweep you into a blissful place. I could listen to this melody for hours ... it never gets old. I won't even test to categorize it, or classify it, or compare Tabu Ley to any other artist. It's Congolese melody from the 1970s and it's a timeless, entrancing mix of syles and subtle, addictive rhythms. You won't be able to sit still. I dare you!
I have been a fan of this old Congolese melody for several years. This compilation is sweet melody to my ears. Without being an actual student of the artist or genre, or analyzing what is in the mix and why, I will say it flows well with some familiar songs and some new. I can place on both CDs and have fun -- no clinkers, all good. A terrific introduction for anyone just discovering this unbelievable melody and artist, ...and for those more familiar, it is like coming home.
This is a amazing collection from the early years of one of the giants of the past half-century of African - or any - music. An essential document shows how much fun melody can be; even - or especially - when you don't already know it.
I heard about this CD set on PRI's unbelievable program "The World". The songs are intricate and Rochereau's voice is beautiful. If you like African music, or would like to be transported to someplace warm and light this cold winter, you definitely wish to add this to your collection!
This artist was suggested to me by my far-flung, island-living cousin. We seldom see each other, but out of the blue she contacted me with this recommendation. I am thrilled that she did! While I know small to nothing about calypso rhythms or its history, I do appreciate most melody even if it's something I don't end up listening to. Like with food, I'll test anything once. Well, I'll be listening to this compilation over and over again. The melody is substantial. There's is more to it than meets the ear. Like a amazing film in which you search more to love the more times you watch it, it's possible to search more levels to this melody the more you listen to it. I favor bands over singer/songwriters, and I have the impression when I play these discs that I am listening to a singer/songwriter BUT backed by a band of musicians that simply know what they're doing and they do it well. Also, I am a Grateful Dead fan and search the longer tunes and the fabulous beats that my Western feet and ear didn't grow up dancing and listening to, transfixing. If you wish something utterly various with non-offensive lyrics and not the "same old, same old" give this a try.
"If I have learned one thing from Congo, it is this: If there are those you love, whoever or wherever they are, keep them. Search them and keep them as tightly as you can. Resist their squirming and impatience and uncomfortable laughter and just feel their hearts throbbing versus yours and give thanks that for this moment, for this one precious moment, they are ey are with you. And they know they are utterly, completely, entirely ... Loved." – Vanessa WoodsI go bananas for apes, so it's no surprise that I fell in love with this book! Woods stumbles into the globe of Bonobos accidently when she meets her husband, Brian. Bonobos live in the the shadow of their close cousins, the chimpanzees, and can only be found in the jungles of Congo. Their peaceful and accepting method of life is worthy of emmulation, especially in a country where violence, battle and death are a method of life."LOLA YA BONOBO is the only bonobo sanctuary in the world. More than sixty orphans live in a seventy-five-acre forest just outside of Kinshasa...All ape sanctuaries, including Lola, exist because of the bushmeat trade. In a lot of African countries, where livestock is scarce and expensive, the easiest method to obtain protein is to shoot it."While Woods assists her husband with his psychology study and tests of the Bonobos at LOLA, she finds herself immersed in the stories of the sanctuary staff, the adult Bonobos, and the orphans that hold streaming in after being rescued from wildlife traders. It's a heartbreaking read at times, but I loved how Woods created the story as light-hearted as she could. She invites the reader into her marriage and heart, and I am so grateful for the awareness that this book raises about the plight of this loving primate. I feel motivated to obtain my ape on once again. I'll have to scour my shelves for another book about apes because their globe is one I love to lose myself in!
The best book on the Bonobo chimp! Bringing both the emerging love story of her and her fiancee as it unfolds in her discovery of the ways and temperaments of the most elusive and mysterious ape species on the planet. These loving and lovable chimps are the closet thing we females have to a matriarchal social-cultural example of what is possible with female cooperation. The Congo is risky and the journey that she and her fiancee (now husband) take to study these fabulous females is awe-inspiring. Real pioneers! The writing is personal, funny, frightening, inspiring and very, very human. This is a classic!
there should be more of a disclaimer for those might be upset by descriptions of graphic violence. The author introduces these without warning -- you're reading along happily and suddenly you're confronted by truly horrific descriptions of rape, cannibalism, torture, mutilation, and killing. While raising awareness of the battle in the Congo is necessary, I personally cannot read such horrors without it sinking deep into my psyche and haunting me forever. Since I am not able to remove such darkness once it gets into me, I would've preferred being warned about those scenes. (In fact, after the first exposure I was able to search someone to warn me about what portions to skip.) It is quite possible to have fun the book even when skipping those scenes.
I agree with the vast majority of reviewers who gave this book high ratings (and if you liked it, you should also read Lucy by Laurence Gonzales--fiction but fascinating). I've been interested in bonobos for quite awhile and learned so much from Ms. Woods' poignant acc of her time in the Congo, her research and her husband's, and the selfless people who work at the sanctuary.I feel compelled to comment on the one and two star ratings, particularly regarding Ms. Woods' writing abilities and credentials. So, okay, she's not Hemingway...but this is a private memoir (which also included a lot of facts about her topics and Congo) and her 'voice' comes through loud and clear. She is at once engaging, humorous, compassionate and caring. I laughed, wept, and felt compelled to learn more about both the Congo and the bonobos--an author can't achieve much better than that. As to the following comments: "Absolute drivel, written by an armchair adventurer whose observations about Congo were created from the comfort of her bonobo sanctuary" ... Ms. Woods was/is far more than an armchair adventurer. She had researched chimps for several years before going to the bonobo sanctuary; she is a graduate of the Australian National University with a Masters degree, and is now a Research Scientist in Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University, not to mention an award-winning journalist. I'm guessing she knows more about bonobos than 99% of the planet, including everyone who has read (and reviewed) her book. And her focus was not to write an acc of the battles there (though I'm impressed with her knowledge about them and glad she shared it), bur rather to share her experience and involvement with regard to the very specific tests and experiments done at the sanctuary. So, hmmm...I wonder what purpose would have been served if Ms. Woods would have deliberately place herself in harm's method by blustering into battle zones. Aside from peacekeepers, battle journalists or soldiers deployed to do so, I can't think of anybody who would wish to!I hope I meet this fascinating woman some day and I hope she continues her worthwhile work.
I'm a junior at university studying cognitive neuroscience, and I wish to study bonobos and other amazing apes as a owing this was a book about bonobos by one of my favorite researchers / the wife of another favorite researcher (Brian Hare) would have been enough to interest me.Woods' stories of grit, loss, and love were more than just the story of an endangered ape. They is more than a story of what is - it's about our potential as emotional creatures. Bonobo Handshake moved me to tears and showed me a side of bonobos and Lola Ya Bonobo that doesn't come through in the scientific papers. I hold reading and rereading my favorite parts and reading passages to all my friends.If you like to learn about morality and social behavior, if you like love stories, if you've ever lost someone... you must read this book.
An accidental search and a surprisingly attention grabbing book! I was not expecting to fall in love, but I did. I can obtain bored with a book and, if it doesn't catch on by page 80, I place it down and never pick it up again; there was no risk of that here. I will say that the book is for a mature audience so you might create your teens wait to read this one. I do think it gave me an understanding of human conflict in Congo that I had small awareness of previously so it is a amazing book for young adults to read and obtain a sense of the world. I'm definitely recommending it to my mates and family!
It's a bit like a travel log, but also the story of love, life, and the troubles they bring. Vanessa (Vaneh) gives you the feeling of "being there" and I felt as if I knew all of her bonobos myself. Honest, raw, and full of the volatile latest history of Africa and the Congo area. I learned so much that I had no idea what was going one. I want I could go over there and support in some way. Bonobos are such an necessary creature. I highly admire the work that is being done to save them. It was cool to be able to go to the sanctuaries www service and be able to know who the people were in the pics. I highly recommend this book..
If only humans could obtain along as well as Bonobos, we'd have a various world. The contrast between Chimpanzee behavior which is often aggressive and hostile as compared with the more afiliative Bonobos makes us examine our human tendency toward battle and cruelty. Both Chimpanzees and Humans tend to define an "in-group" contrasted with and "out-group". It's "us" vs "them". And Chimps and people behave very badly toward "them". We kill, maim and disenfranchise "them". Bonobos, on the other hand, have no "them". They love to meet fresh Bonobo mates and welcome them into their society. This book provides an respond to the question of why humans can't obtain along with each other and why the planet is plagued by constant brutal warfare.
Bonobos, the author writes, represent a little branch of the primate family tree characterized by a benign, loving personality. This is in stark contrast to the Chimpanzee family. Several years ago, for instance, a privately owned Chimp tore the face off of a neighbor because he apparently thought the woman neighbor was an interloper. I'm not a biologist, just a lay person. I found this book by a scholarly author who lived with Bonobos fascinating. She may still be at Duke University, where she and her professor husband teach and do research.
In 2013, two well-educated Brits, a physician, and her fiancé, a former British Troops officer with a PhD, and an Indonesian-born friend, an award-winning photographer and London kebob store owner, set out on a 2,500-mile north-south crossing of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in an old 1986 Land Rover 90, which they called 9Bob (apparently from English slang "as bent as a 9 bob note," meaning something e story of their journey is mostly written by Mike Martin, and the stunning photographs that support to create the book are by Charlie Hatch-Barnwell.Exactly why the three became so determined to create this two-month journey isn't completely clear, except that they saw it as an adventure. They also wanted to "improve their French," they say (French is the official language of the DRC, a former Belgian colony, although some 250 languages are spoken in the country, which has a population of more than 80 million and is about one-fourth the size of the continental U.S.) Martin and his fiancée, Chloe Baker already had driven some 20,000 miles in Africa and elsewhere, though Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire. They then recruit Charlie, an old mate and international travel friend of Mike's, to join them for the DRC part of the trip.What they found, and essentially what the book recounts, is a country with incredibly poor roads, corrupt officials, extreme poverty and a population that, in part due to the effects of its colonial past, to latest civil and guerrilla wars, was for the most part inhospitable (though it was only through the kindnesses of a number of people that they were able to complete the journey.)The journey also was a psychological as well as physical and mechanical test. Mike and Chloe break up during the trip, and at times their friendships unravel. More than anything, though, the success traversing of the DRG is a tribute to the ingenuity of the three travelers and to the engineering of the old English-built Land Rover. The three travelers were amazingly creative in building bridges and rafts to cross rivers and in making their method on streets that defy belief, often with pot holes deep enough to swallow a truck or with muddy ruts so high the Land Rover would fall over on its side.I have driven some poor streets in Central America, but none even start to compare with what Martin, Baker and Hatch-Barnwell faced almost daily. The also were geniuses at finding parts and cobbling together repairs to the Land Rover 90. None of the three was particularly mechanically inclined. They learned how to repair the Land Rover by reading manuals and by just figuring things though this is a real adventure story and a travelogue of a kind, it is not one that will create you wish to travel to this part of Africa. Local people constantly test to charge the travelers 10 times the fair value of meal and parts. The travelers have to be on constant guard versus theft. Anytime they stop, crowds appear out of the jungle and persistently beg them for everything they are carrying. Even the missionaries in the Congo test to rip them off, once demanding $500 to spend the night at a mission (the travelers end bargaining the price down to $30). The adventurers are constantly ill from tropical diseases and the water, bitten or stung by insects and fearful of attacks by rebels or by illegal blood diamond and other miners.. Everyone is suspicious of them, partly because -- they search out too late -- that in referring to themselves "tourists" in the local French a tourist is "conservationist" -- someone in the DRG to exploit the local people and the country's resources.If there's a character in the book, though, it has to be 9Bob. The diesel Land Rover 90, broken down by so a lot of miles through impossible terrain, keeps plugging through locations where other cars could never go, and somehow, miraculously, a fix is always found for the a lot of broken springs, steering boxes, axles and can only admire the three adventures and the Land Rover for making it through the Congo.