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A River That Is Congo-Of Rulers and Ruled
is a historical novel of one man’s heroic struggle against the greed, cruelty, and terror of a corrupt government in colonial Africa.
The protagonist in Of Rulers and Ruled is Pierre d’Entremont, a Frenchman who because of the collapse of the La Banque de d’Entremont, must earn a living. With his military training his best option is to enter King Leopold’s military service in the Congo. He has been told that one can make a fortune quickly in Leopold’s Congo Free State.
Raised in an environment of affluence, gentility and with a deep sense of honor, Pierre is appalled by the atrocities perpetrated on the natives by the colonialist. Pierre went to Africa to make a fortune and stayed to fight an evil system.
Synopsis of Of Rulers and Ruled
Within the first month in the Congo: Pierre becomes sick and nearly dies, makes an enemy of Harou, the most powerful man in the Congo, and on the way to his posting must always keep his gun nearby because the captain has said, “Dead or alive you will get off my boat.”
His first post is at the trading post of Bombula where the garrison commandant has recently died. When he gets to Bombula he discover that the sadistic Claude Armonde has murdered the former commandant and has taken control of the garrison and makes Pierre his prisoner. In order to put an end to Armonde’s maiming and killing of the natives, and to get away himself, he has to kill Armonde.
Armonde was Harou’s friend and Harou suspects Pierre killed Armonde. The natives know what happened, but the word of a native cannot be used in the Congo court against a white person.
After killing Armonde he finds Armonde’s journal, which records the atrocities he and other agents and soldiers have committed. Pierre makes a copy of that journal and turns it over to Roger Casement who is a member of the British consulate sent there for the express purpose of verifying the alleged atrocities committed by King Leopold’s agents and military.
"Only someone from this time period and region could portray the Congo and its inhabitants in such exquisite detail. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down!"
"Paul's book gives a on-site feel for those who want to understand what happened in the worst history of colonial Africa. You will be transported back in time to feel, smell, and see the treatment of the natives in the hands of their colonial rulers"
"Having grown up in the Congo in the 30s-40s I have a special interest in, and concern for that country. The current events in the Congo are heart wrenching."
About the Author
Paul J. Stam, was born in the northeast corner of the Belgian Congo where he grew up listening to the accounts of the old timers, some of whom were the first whites in that part of Africa. Just before the end of World War II, when he was 15, Paul came to the United States with his parents. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard a destroyer during the Korean War. His tour of duty completed, Paul attended the University of Minnesota and later joined the staff. Among other things, Paul has been a foundry worker, salesman, university teacher and administrator and sailboat skipper. Paul is now retired and lives in Hawaii.