|Plot Summary of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz|
|""In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz" is the true story of President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and the society of thieves and impoverished masses he created in the most resource-wealthy country on the planet.
Beginning with his assumption of the position of Army Chief-of-Staff to Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, the book traces his path from his successful military coup in 1965 to his overthrow by Rwandan militiamen in 1997.
Along the way, it recounts his abuses of power for personal gain, to the tune of several trillion dollars, most of it spent on buying a Mercedes for every new cabinet member and financing the maintenance of Gbadolite, an opulent jungle palace with gold and silver inlay, stocked to the rafters with caviar and pink champagne.
While the president was happily looting the country's coffers and blithely appropriated money loaned by the World Bank, the country descended into an anarchy of smuggling, graft, and fraud, a state that Mobutu not only condoned, but actively encouraged, as in a speech in which he exhorted his people to only steal "a little."
From army officers who more resembled bandits in their relations with civilians to the economy-obliterating flop that was "Zaireanisation," Michela Wrong's book tells the complete story of the man whose leopardskin toque and Buddy Holly-style glasses became the symbol for opression and criminal excess across the world."
James Craver, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
- evil human rights abusing dictator
Period of greatest activity?
Subject of Biography
Biography of famous person?
- Subsaharan African
How sensitive is this person?
- mean, arrogant
Sense of humor
- Cynical sense of humor
- Very much smarter than other people
- healthy but a geeky weakling
Kind of Africa:
- Black Africa
- dirty, grimy (like New York)
- Fancy Mansion
- fort/military installation
- mostly 3rd
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Book makes you feel?
Is book humorous?
If humorous, kind of humor
Commentary on society?
Writer's slant towards subject:
- very unfavorable
Story of entire life, or part?
- story of nearly entire life
- A lot 11-15 B&W
How much dialogue in bio?
- significantly more descript than dialog
A LOT of info about personal vices?
How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?
- 51%-75% of book
How much is philosophy rather than life story?
- 0-25% of book
Click here for more information about this book
Michela Wrong Resident Scholar Profiles|
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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