£26.99 | $41.95

15 April 2007
ISBN: 9781842776896
256 pages
216 x 135mm

International Relations, Politics

The Congo Wars

Conflict, Myth and Reality

By Thomas Turner

Since 1996 war has raged in the Congo while the world has looked away. Waves of armed conflict and atrocities against civilians have resulted in over three million casualties, making this one of the bloodiest yet least understood conflicts of recent times. In The Congo Wars Thomas Turner provides the first in-depth analysis of what happened. The book describes a resource-rich region, suffering from years of deprivation and still profoundly affected by the shockwaves of the Rwandan genocide. Turner looks at successive misguided and self-interested interventions by other African powers, including Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia, as well as the impotence of United Nations troops. Cutting through the historical myths so often used to understand the devastation, Turner indicates the changes required of Congolese leaders, neighbouring African states and the international community to bring about lasting peace and security.


The Congo Wars is the work of a master Africanist. Turner's synthetic analysis of Congo's conflicts is multi-faceted yet completely compelling. This remarkable study is destined to be the standard monographic reference on Congo's recent tragic conflicts for the foreseeable future.
John Clark, Florida International University

'Thomas Turner unravels in masterful fashion the tangledskeins of recent events in Congo-Kinshasa. His deft analysis and rich detial provide the best account yet published of the two Congo wars from 1996-2002, particularly in the two Kivus.'
M. Crawford Young, University of Wisconsin-Madison

'Thomas Turner's book will likely be the point of reference for anyone interested in the Congo wars, their origins and dynamics and why, in spite of the carnage, they remain a largely ignored and unknown conflict outside of Central Africa'.
Ian Taylor, University of St Andrews

'Thomas Turner provides the most lucid and detailed analysis of the complexity of the internal and interregional wars that have plagued this vast country since 1996. By situating this tragic history within the legacies of colonialism and Mobutuism, the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the criminalization of political activity in resource rich but politically unstable regions of the world, he has produced a remarkable and highly readable book.'
Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, United Nations Development Programme

'..is helpful in demonstrating the basic tribal nature of the recent Congo conflicts..' - Duncan Bowie, Chartist

'The Congo Wars is a concise, well-written history of this often confusing conflict. Thomas Turner is particularly impressive when analysing the actions and motivations of the many African states involved in the fighting'. - Peace News

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements

Map of the Congo

1. Half a holocaust

2. The Political economy of pillage

3. Congo must be sweet - image and ideology in the Congo wars

4. War in South Kivu

5. War in North Kivu

6. Congo and the international community

7. After the war

About the Author:

Thomas Turner teaches at at Victoria Commonwealth University. He has previously taught in universities in Congo, Kenya, Tunisia and Rwanda. He is the author of Ethnogenèse et nationalisme en Afrique centrale: les racines de Lumumba (2000) and co-author of The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State (1985).