Campaigns on the Cutting Edge, 2nd Edition / Edition 1

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Overview

At the heart of Africa is Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, bordering nine other nations, that since 1996 has been wracked by a brutal and unstaunchable war in which millions have died. And yet, despite its epic proportions, it has received little sustained media attention.

In this deeply reported book, Jason Stearns vividly tells the story of this misunderstood conflict through the experiences of those who engineered and perpetrated it. He depicts village pastors who survived massacres, the child soldier assassin of President Kabila, a female Hutu activist who relives the hunting and methodical extermination of fellow refugees, and key architects of the war that became as great a disaster as--and was a direct consequence of--the genocide in neighboring Rwanda. Through their stories, he tries to understand why such mass violence made sense, and why stability has been so elusive.

Through their voices, and an astonishing wealth of knowledge and research, Stearns chronicles the political, social, and moral decay of the Congolese State.

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Editorial Reviews

Adam Hochschild
…the best account so far: more serious than several recent macho-war-correspondent travelogues, and more lucid and accessible than its nearest competitor, Gérard Prunier's dense and overwhelming Africa's World War…The task facing anyone who tries to tell this whole story is formidable, but Stearns by and large rises to it. He has lived in the country, and has done a raft of interviews with people who witnessed what happened before he got there…on the whole his picture is clear, made painfully real by a series of close-up portraits.
—The New York Times
Robert Guest
Most books about Congo's war focus, understandably, on the victims…Yet on their own, they do not allow us to make sense of this most confusing of wars. Enter Jason Stearns. One of Congo's most intrepid observers, he describes the war from the point of view of its perpetrators. He has tracked down and interviewed a rogue's gallery of them. The resulting book, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, is a tour de force, though not for the squeamish.
—The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews

Impressively controlled account of the devastating Congo war, which has caused more than 5 million deaths.

Stearns, who in 2008 led a special UN investigation regarding the region's violence, argues that the war "had no one cause, no clear conceptual essence that can be easily distilled in a couple of paragraphs." While he agrees that the 1994 Rwandan genocide provided the war's genesis, he argues that a less-understood factor was the experience of the Banyamulenge, a Tutsi group that emigrated to the Congo long before and suffered persecution ever since. The Congo was first invaded in 1996, when Laurent Kabila deposed Mobutu, but the wider war began in 1998, between disparate coalitions: Kabila's army and Hutu militias on one side, and the Rwandan military and their allies on another. "The war scuttled all plans for long-term reform and prompted quick fixes that only further debilitated the state," writes Stearns. The author illuminates the tangled relationships between Kabila, Rwandan Tutsi leader Paul Kagame and many other players as few journalists have. The book's greatest strength is the eyewitness dialogue; Stearns discusses his encounters with everyone from major military figures to residents of remote villages (he was occasionally suspected of being a CIA spy). He reveals the bravery and suffering of ordinary Africans, while underscoring "how deeply entrenched in society the Congolese crisis had become." As the chronology moves into the previous decade, his tale becomes increasingly complex and disturbing. Regional proxy wars involving rebel offshoots and tribal militia groups spun out of control, intensifying violence against civilians. Kabila was assassinated in 2001, possibly due to grudges held by angry child soldiers backed by Rwanda, and replaced by his son, who pursued a tenuous peace marred by continued economic stagnation and chaos. By that time, the belligerent nations "had over a dozen rebel proxies or allies battling each other."

An important examination of a social disaster that seems both politically complex and cruelly senseless.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452202846
  • Publisher: Congressional Quarterly, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/18/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 206
  • Sales rank: 649,220
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason Stearns has been working on the conflict in the Congo for the past ten years. In 2008 he was named by the UN Secretary General to lead a special UN investigation into the violence in the country. He has also worked for a Congolese human rights group, for the United Nations peacekeeping operation, and for the International Crisis Group. He is currently completing a PhD at Yale University.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Contributors xiii

Part I The New Political Campaign 1

1 Introduction - Campaigns on the Cutting Edge Richard J. Semiatin 3

2 Fundraising - Continuity and Change Robert G. Boatright 11

3 Paid Media - In an Era of Rapid and Revolutionary Change Tad Devine 28

4 Social and New Media - An Evolving Future Michael Turk 48

5 Polling in the Twenty-First Century - Part Past, Part Future Candice J. Nelson 65

6 Voter Mobilization - Into the Future Richard J. Semiatin 81

Part II The Evolving Campaign - Adaptation by Political Institutions and Groups 101

7 Political Parties - Beyond Revitalization Tari Renner 103

8 Interest Groups and the Future of Campaigns Nina Therese Kasniunas Mark J. Rozell 121

9 Campaign Press Coverage-Instantaneous Joseph Graf Jeremy D. Mayer 138

10 Campaign Finance Reform in the Post-Citizens United Era Peter L. Francia Wesley Joe Clyde Wilcox 157

11 Redistricting - The Shift Toward South and West Continues Jeffrey Crouch 177

12 Women and Campaigns - Growing Female Activism From the Grass Roots to the Top Susan A. Macmanus Renee Dabbs Mary L. Moss 193

13 Minority Candidates and the Changing Landscape of Campaigns in the Twenty-First Century Atiya Kai Stokes-Brown 211

14 New Political Campaigns and Democracy Dick Simpson 226

Index 241

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