Book titles: Belgian Congo Volume I /Belgian Congo Volume II
Translated from the French
Publisher: Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi Information and Public Relations Office
Brussels, 1959 and 1960
Original gilt, 16x22 cm, 547 and 187 pages, in sum 14 fold-up maps
Very good. Obviously unread volumes.
The literature dealing with the Congo is abundant; in the course of recent years especially it has been enriched in every field and has taken many different forms. In the presence of this wealth of information the traveler, the public man, the scholar, and the student, desirous of getting acquainted with everything concerning our colony, sometimes find themselves perplexed. The Office de l'Information et des Relations Publiques du Congo Belge et du Ruanda-Urundi (Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi Information and Public Relations Office) has deemed it useful to place at the public's disposal a sort of digest in the form of a handy volume that condenses and co-ordinates the copious and scattered material extant on the subject.
But a book of this nature involves an unavoidable risk: the Congo is undergoing a rapid evolution; it is in a state of perpetual transformation, and is thoroughly alive and constantly in motion. The works dealing with our overseas territories become outdated with disconcerting rapidity. Every writer who travels in central Africa today discovers a new Congo; each one believes he has given a lasting picture of the country, but no sooner has he outlined it than it vanishes or is transformed.
The political, administrative and judicial life of the country is undergoing sweeping reforms and the data that is valid today may be obsolete tomorrow. Our book could not jail to recognize the ephemeral and precarious nature of certain aspects of the information it has undertaken to present. Therefore, in addition to this main volume, which shows the Congo from a more general point of view, and will suffer less from the swift changes so characteristic of current events, we have been led to plan a second volume which will be periodically published and will contain statistical and technical documentation illustrating or supplementing the data given in this first volume.
The second volume will also give a bibliography and notably indications of the sources on which the reading matter has been based, indications which have not been mentioned in the text in order not to weigh it down. For the work as a whole, we have secured the service of a specialist for each of the topics treated ; they have taken pains to supply an account that gives only the essentials but is at the same time as complete and up-to-date as possible.
We hope to have thus offered the public a reference work whose value will not be short-lived. Perhaps in spite of everything this book will be speedily outstripped by an evolution which is that of life itself, but it will preserve at least a reflection of the Congo as it appears today, fifty years after the time when its founder confided its destinies to the Belgian people.
Honorary Vice-Governor-General of the Belgian Congo.
President of the Office de l'Information et des Relations Publiques pour le Congo Belge et le Ruanda-Urundi.