Congo – Spirit of Darkness
Susan Dawson’s journal is read on her deathbed by a nurse. Susan was a journalist and an abolitionist, her story and the story of those around her, is told here.
There is never a nice way to tell a story about slavery. You can’t pussyfoot around the subject and there’s no point in trying to find a tactful way of describing something that was so horrendous it’s amazing people couldn’t see how vile a trade it was before something happened about it! Again, some passages in Congo are just heart-breaking. Truly awful images are presented by an incredible way with words.
Congo does tend to jump around a little, between Susan on her deathbed and her journal being read, to the slave traders collecting their latest cargo, to dinner parties where the merchants, captains and other ‘society’ members hobnob to discuss the latest collection and congratulate themselves on a job well done.
Congo is, however, a fantastic book. It doesn’t cover anything new, but for anyone interested in this despicable area of history Congo is a must read. It doesn’t pull any punches and it is extremely informative and well written. There are also spacing issues and should this be rectified, perhaps the book may be a little smaller.
I can’t for a minute say that I enjoyed it, the subject matter doesn’t make it an enjoyable read, what I can say without hesitation is that it was extremely difficult to put down!