A story of grim comedy amid the apocalypse and a celebration of the sheer indestructibility of the human spirit in a nation run riot: Michela Wrong’s vision of Congo/Zaire during the Mobutu years is incisive, ironic and revelatory. Mr Kurtz, the colonial white master, brought evil to the remote upper reaches of the Congo River. A century after Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ was first published, Michela Wrong revisits the Congo during the turbulent era of Mobutu Sese Seko.
Why do many Nigerian leaders ‘change’ once in office? Will the present generation of Nigerians do any better than its predecessors? Was Occupy Nigeria indeed a failure? Do we need a ‘Nigerian Dream’?
Written with the keenness of youth but earnest and wise beyond its years, Are We the Turning Point Generation? will resonate with young Nigerians while remaining relatable to previous generations.
No American statesman has been as revered or as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Once hailed as “Super K”—the “indispensable man” whose advice has been sought by every president from Kennedy to Obama—he has also been hounded by conspiracy theorists, scouring his every “telcon” for evidence of Machiavellian malfeasance. Yet as Niall Ferguson shows in this 2-volume biography, drawing not only on Kissinger’s hitherto closed private papers but also on documents from more than a hundred archives around the world, the idea of Kissinger as the ruthless arch-realist is based on a profound misunderstanding. The first half of Kissinger’s life is usually skimmed over as a quintessential tale of American ascent: the Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany who made it to the White House. But in this first of two volumes, Ferguson shows that what Kissinger achieved before his appointment as Nixon’s national security adviser was astonishing in its own right. Toiling as a teen in a New York factory, he studied indefatigably at night. He was drafted into the infantry & saw action at the Battle of the Bulge—as well as the liberation of a concentration camp—but ended his army career interrogating Nazis. It was at Harvard that Kissinger found his vocation. Having immersed himself in the philosophy of Kant & the diplomacy of Metternich, he shot to celebrity by arguing for limited nuclear war. Nelson Rockefeller hired him. Kennedy called him to Camelot. Yet Kissinger’s rise was anything but irresistible. Dogged by press gaffes & disappointed by Rocky, Kissinger seemed stuck—until a trip to Vietnam changed everything. The Idealist is the story of one of the most important strategic thinkers America has ever produced. It’s also a political Bildungsroman, explaining how “Dr Strangelove” ended up as consigliere to a politician he’d always abhorred. Like Ferguson’s classic 2-volume history of the House of Rothschild, Kissinger sheds new light on an entire era. The essential account of an extraordinary life, it recasts the Cold War world.
Among his many books, perhaps none have sparked more outrage than The Missionary Position, Christopher Hitchens’s meticulous study of the life and deeds of Mother Teresa.
A Nobel Peace Prize recipient beatified by the Catholic Church in 2003, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was celebrated by heads of state and adored by millions for her work on behalf of the poor. In his measured critique, Hitchens asks only that Mother Teresa’s reputation be judged by her actions-not the other way around.
With characteristic elan and rhetorical dexterity, Hitchens eviscerates the fawning cult of Teresa, recasting the Albanian missionary as a spurious, despotic, and megalomaniacal operative of the wealthy who long opposed measures to end poverty, and fraternized, for financial gain, with tyrants and white-collar criminals throughout the world.