“Su memoria es pura de sangre humana” recuerda el epitafio grabado en su tumba. Palabras que ilustran la aventura de este gran hombre ciertamente singular y pacífico que presidió a los destinos de las relaciones franco congolesas. Italiano de origen, naturalizado francés, pero africano de corazón.
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Maria Petringa's new nonfiction work, Brazza, A Life for Africa (now available through AuthorHouse), is a fascinating account that takes the reader on a journey from Papal Rome, to Belle-Epoque Paris, to French Colonial Africa.
This is the first complete biography in English of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, a critical but little-known figure in African history. Born an Italian nobleman in 1852, Brazza spent 20 years of his life exploring equatorial Africa as a French naval officer. Unlike other explorers who used violent means to conquer territory, he took the time to understand African cultures "from the inside," by living among the tribes and patiently learning their ways. His skillful use of diplomacy won him the friendship of African kings, and the devotion of his European colleagues.
Steadfastly opposed to slavery and the exploitation of African workers, Brazza came up against the reality of the Western world's interest in central Africa. The European economy's greed for rubber had created a hidden world of slave labor and violence, with scenes that inspired the "horror" of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Ultimately, Brazza's attempts to reconcile African development and prosperity with French colonial policy cost him his naval career. A few years later, his investigative mission to expose horrific human rights abuses in the African colonies would cost him his life. Brazza, A Life for Africa contains numerous parallels to today's events.
Brazza and his men made meticulous notes of the daily life, customs, culture, flora and fauna of equatorial Africa. They discovered new plant and animal species, including the DeBrazza's Monkey, present in zoos today. Brazza's descriptions of African societies influenced many Europeans, and encouraged the development of anthropology. Tribal artifacts, masks, statues and musical instruments brought back by his expeditions contributed to Europe's awareness and acceptance of African art, and influenced later artistic movements like Cubism and Surrealism.
The biography was thoroughly researched by the author in France, Italy and the Republic of Congo. It is annotated, and contains an extensive bibliography of primary sources including books, memoirs, articles and personal letters written by Brazza and his family and friends. The text is illustrated with authentic 19th-century photographs from French archives.
Born in Boston, a graduate of Harvard and the Sorbonne Nouvelle, author Maria Petringa has spent her adult life in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. She has worked as a teacher and translator, and is now a non-fiction writer and art critic. She lives in Paris. To learn more about Brazza, A Life for Africa, and to read a selection from the text, please go towww.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=36653.
AuthorHouse is the world leader in publishing and print-on-demand services. Founded in 1997, AuthorHouse has helped more than 18,500people worldwide become published authors. For more information, visit www.authorhouse.com.
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