EAC Book of the Week – One Year in Africa

March 27th 2017

Each week our librarian selects a book from the our library to highlight. Volunteers, interns, and researchers at the EAC have access to the library, but we also share the book here for friends of the EAC who live abroad.

Hans van den Houten. One Year In Africa: 1964-65,

AuthorHouse, 2016.

A man’s experiences of his life in Africa (Congo, Burundi and Rwanda) during 1964-65.

 

“I felt wrapped in a dense heat, laden with moisture and many indefinable odors. Decaying vegetation from strange and exotic trees and plants mixed their fragrances; these were the smells of Africa.” (p. 1).

Hans van den Houten vividly talks about his experiences of one year in Africa from the moment he arrives in Congo Léopoldville, for his first assignment as an international employee of Shell, to the moment he departs: “Now with the closure of the door, the envelope sealed, and experiences –some bad, but mostly good– were contained and locked into my memories of one year in Africa.” (p.220).

Social life, parties, dancing and music events, politics, business issues and challenges, sports and everyday life, love affairs, weekends on the Congo River, difficulties and risky situations, such as crocodiles and burglars, Burundi drummers and dancers: those are some of the topics that come across the entire book to illustrate the author’s adventurous and rather interesting life in Africa.

His writing style with the simplicity and immediacy of his voice makes it a fascinating book!

 

Main subjects/keywords

Africa

Congo; Burundi; Rwanda

Personal narratives


Categories: Library

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EAC Book of the Week – In Love and War: a letter to my parents

March 13th 2017

Each week our librarian selects a book from the our library to highlight. Volunteers, interns, and researchers at the EAC have access to the library, but we also share the book here for friends of the EAC who live abroad.

Maria Corelli

In Love and War: a letter to my parents/ Short Books, London, 2001.


A young woman’s experiences of World War II in Italy.

Based on a true story.

 

In a long letter to her parents back in England, written in Rome in 1944, Maria Corelli talks about her life in Italy during World War II.

Maria and, her husband, Lewis, study music in Rome when World War II begins. They meet a Jewish opera singer, Sigbert, with whom they immediately become friends. After a while, Sigbert is arrested and sent to a concentration camp. Two years later he manages to escape from the camp and return to Rome. But as the Germans approach, things are getting difficult. Maria and her husband Lewis decide to follow their friend, Sigbert, when he goes into hiding in the Italian mountains.

It is during that period when Maria and Sigbert find themselves falling in love. Maria finds out that it is possible to love two people at the same time and Sigbert feels guilty as he jeopardises his friendship with Lewis:

‘You will say, how is it possible you could love them both at the same time? Well, in those days it was possible.’ (p.23).

 

A fascinating personal story about love in the age of war!

 

Main subjects/keywords

Correspondence

World war, 1939-1945

Personal narratives


Categories: Library

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