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No thoughtful reader of this book will look at his or her computer or cellphone the same way again.

Eye-opening reportage from an African nation that has been robbed and despoiled for centuries—but that is now finding paths of resistance.

Human-rights activists Prendergast (co-author: The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes, 2010, etc.) and Bafilemba, the latter a Congolese field researcher, begin with the story of a woman who was abducted by a local militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo, held captive for 15 months, and repeatedly raped as “the wife of everyone.” She managed to escape, only to be brutalized again by invading Rwandan soldiers, and finally became a teacher and mentor “to countless Congolese women who have experienced physical and emotional trauma.” Hers is a story that has been repeated again and again for centuries as Congolese rulers, for a price, have allowed outside powers to loot its resources, by which the nation should rightfully be one of the richest in the world. Instead, in recent history, it has been ruled by kleptocrats—currently Joseph Kabila, who “has subverted democratic processes and violently repressed independent and opposition voices in order to retain power indefinitely”—even as those outside interests remove astonishing quantities of what the authors enumerate as four “conflict minerals.” These include tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold, as well as cobalt and diamonds, all things that enrich the developed world and make many of its modern technologies possible. Change is possible: The authors hold that Congo offers a case study not just in inequality and postcolonial exploitation but also in what can be done about them, including being sure that jewelers source their supplies responsibly and use “conflict-free artisanal gold from Congo in their jewelry lines.” Gosling provides excellent images of daily life in Congo, while, in a postscript, Dave Eggers urges readers to find ways to support small-scale “local projects conceived and run by local residents,” funding the people who most need help.

No thoughtful reader of this book will look at his or her computer or cellphone the same way again.

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4555-8464-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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