by Philippa Schuyler ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 21, 1962
This American, French-speaking, convent-educated Catholic concert-pianist author does not reveal how or when she became a syndicated newspaper correspondent, but as such she was privy to the turbulence in the Congo, 1959-61. Her shocking report begins with a comprehensive history of the strife-swept country, its geographical, racial, political, economic, educational, and medical problems. Having defined the infamous roles of H.M. Stanley (of Livingstone fame), King Leopold II of Belgium, and other important figures of the past, she details a tribe-by-tribe, province-by-province biographical identification of the Congo's recent and present splintered leadership. The tangled and constantly shifting relationships of these personalities are at best difficult to follow, but Miss Schuyler's survey of the power struggle is reasonably clear. The mounting horror of her recital reaches its first climax when she explicates on the atavistic savagery of the days immediately following independence; she claims to know personally some the victims, to have seen the effects of terror upon neighbors, and to herself have had a narrow escape from a rape attempt. The ultimate crescendo of shock comes, however, as she denounces the specific UN activities in the Congo and the American attitude toward Katanga secession. She declares that ""Excessive romanticization about Katanga's wealth has created an unbalanced mystique about the importance of Katanga's secession"", and believes that ""centralization cannot and never will succeed in the Congo"", elaborating at length on the inevitability of confederation as opposed to unity. From moment to moment, of course, the Congo conflict continues, which will put the book out of date before it reaches readers. Yet because it contains the author's own little known view of Lumumba's real fate as well as a great number of specific facts and figures difficult to obtain elsewhere, it can be expected to receive attention on that basis if no other.
Pub Date: March 21, 1962
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1962
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