William & Mary

Roessler Book Tour

The William & Mary Government Department is proud to announce that Professor Philip Roessler and his co-author, Harry Verhoeven of Georgetown University, published their new book Why Comrades Go to War: Liberation Politics and the Outbreak of Africa's Great War (Oxford University Press/Hurst Publishers). Drawing on hundreds of interviews with protagonists from Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, Why Comrades Go to War tells the story of how a group of Congolese revolutionaries and their regional allies came together in 1996-1997 to overthrow Congo’s long-serving dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, but within fifteen months ended up turning on each other, triggering the deadliest conflict since World War II. In revisiting the dynamics leading to this devastating conflict, the book makes a broader contribution by advancing our understanding of the nexus between regional polarization, revolution and the externalization of civil war.

Roessler and Verhoeven toured Europe from October 10 to October 14 to promote their book in various universities including the University of Oxford, Cambridge University, University of Antwerp in Belgium. Additionally, the book tour included an event in London co-sponsored by the Royal African Society and SOAS, University of London that attracted diplomats, policy analysts, journalists, human rights researchers, and interested citizens.

Thus far, academics and book reviewers have praised Roessler and Verhoeven’s analysis in Why Comrades Go to War. “This is a rare combination: a book that combines exceptional academic rigor with deep, personal knowledge of a place and its main actors,” said Jason Stearns, Director of the Congo Research Group at New York University. “It offers new and refreshing insights into very complex and dramatic events that continue to impact Central Africa up to the present day,” noted Filip Reyntjens, Professor of Law and Politics at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

We congratulate Professor Roessler on his recent publication and wish him the best of luck in his future research!