Synopses & Reviews
"Exterminate All the Brutes"
is a searching examination of Europes dark history in Africa and the origins of genocide. Using Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness
as his point of departure, Sven Lindqvist takes us on a haunting tour through the colonial past, interwoven with a modern-day travelogue. Retracing the steps of European explorers, missionaries, politicians, and historians in Africa from the late eighteenth century onward, the author exposes the roots of genocide in Africa via his own journey through the Saharan desert. As Lindqvist shows, fantasies not merely of white superiority but of actual extermination"cleansing" the earth of the so-called lesser racesdeeply informed European colonialism and racist ideology that ultimately culminated in Europes own Holocaust.
Chosen as one of the Best Books of 1998 by the New Internationalist, which called it "a beautifully written integration of criticism, cultural history, and travel writing, underpinned by a passion for social justice," "Exterminate All the Brutes" is a powerful reckoning with the past and an indispensable contribution to the literature of colonial Africa and European genocide.
Praise for Sven Lindqvist and "Exterminate All the Brutes"
"A book of stunning range and near genius. . . . The catastrophic consequences of European imperialism are made palpable in the personal progress of the author, a late-twentieth century pilgrim in Africa. Lindqvists astonishing connections across time and cultures, combined with a marvelous economy of prose, leave the reader appalled, reflective, and grateful."
—David Levering Lewis
"In spare but powerful prose . . . Lindqvist manages to weave together an impressive variety of themes [to] point to the continuity between prejudices and acts separated by continents and centuries."
—The Washington Post
"Lindqvists disturbing, brilliant work of historical sleuthing deserves to be taken up in a thousand classrooms."
—Rob Nixon, Voice Literary Supplement
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". 9 illus.
About the Author
has published thirty books, including The Skull Measurers Mistake
, A History of Bombing
, and Terra Nullius
(all available from The New Press). He holds a PhD in the history of literature from Stockholm University, an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University, and an honorary professorship from the Swedish government. He lives in Stockholm. Joan Tate
(19922000) translated more than two hundred books, including works by Ingmar Bergman, Kerstin Ekman, and Astrid Lindgren.