Sunday, August 15, 2010

Exterminate All the Brutes by Sven Lindqvist

Exterminate All the BrutesSUMMARY (by the publisher): Sweden's Sven Lindqvist provides a unique study of Europe's dark history in Africa, written in the form of a travel diary. Lindqvist examines the legacy of European racism, setting Conrad's Heart of Darkness in context and helping us to understand that most terrifying of Conrad's lines "Exterminate all the brutes".


Regarding racism, genocide and the Holocaust, I think at one point of their life everyone has asked themselves the question: how could this happen? In Exterminate All the Brutes Sven Lindqvist provides a comprehensive answer to this very question. To explain the development of European racism Lindquist takes a reader on a triple voyage.

The first voyage is a description of his own journey across the Sahara. Following Lindquist on his route from the north of Africa southwards the reader becomes familiar with the current situation in Africa. Lindqvist presents the people, their economic and social situation, the traditions, their mentality, the political circumstances and the corrupted and exploitative officials.

The second voyage is the red line of Lindqvist’s book, namely, constant references to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Lindquist uses Heart of Darkness to illustrate the main topic of his book, the journey from the first sprouts of racism in Europe to its escalation in the twentieth century.

The journey through the history of racism in Europe is the third voyage in Exterminate All the Brutes. It starts with the establishment of European colonies in Africa and continues with an account of the economic interests which drove European countries to usurp larger and larger territories of the African continent. Lindquist explains how Europeans wanted to justify their conquest of African territories and how their racist philosophy reached its peak in the Holocaust.

Thus, Lindqvist elaborates on a demanding topic step by step. He gives plenty of examples and illustrations. His style is despite the very serious topic easy to understand.

RECOMMENDATION: This is the book for everyone who wants to learn about the background of racism in Europe because it states the facts in a clear and appealing way.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa, sounds like such a powerful book. I'd love to read it sometime and learn more about this type of history. Great review!


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