cover image Exterminate All the Bru -Op/77

Exterminate All the Bru -Op/77

Sven Lindqvist. New Press, $27.95 (179pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-002-7

Swedish author Lindqvist (China in Crisis) offers an unusual diary: the story of his bus trip through the Sahara Desert melded with his exploration of colonialist literature and its modern spawn. Although his conceit sometimes seems strained, Lindqvist hones in on some resonant and uncomfortable truths. European explorers regularly murdered the Africans they encountered, yet the story back home was mostly triumphalism. Conrad's friend R.B. Cunningham Graham was one of the few who acknowledged the impact of imperialist culture shock, and the author finds some vital parallels between the two authors' works. He is led to tally up the costs of colonialism in the Americas and Australia, then, tellingly, to show how German anthropology, once sympathetic to African natives, turned harsh when Germany acquired its colony in South-West Africa, now Namibia. He links the German extermination of the Herero people to the call for lebensraum and to the death camps. Lindqvist argues, ""Auschwitz was the modern industrial application of a policy of extermination on which European world domination had long since rested."" Illustrations. (Apr.)