Exterminate All the Brutes is a unique study of Europe's dark history in Africa, written both in the form of a travel diary and as a historical examination of European imperialism and racism over the past two centuries.
Sven Lindqvist is one of our most original writers on race, colonialism, and genocide, and his signature approach—uniting travelogues with powerful acts of historical excavation—renders his books devastating and unforgettable. Now, for the first time, Lindqvist’s most beloved works are available in one beautiful and affordable volume with a new introduction by Adam Hochschild. The Dead Do Not Die includes the full unabridged text of "Exterminate All the Brutes", called "a book of stunning range and near genius" by David Levering Lewis. In this work, Lindqvist uses Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness as a point of departure for a haunting tour through the colonial past, retracing the steps of Europeans in Africa from the late eighteenth century onward and thus exposing the roots of genocide via his own journey through the Saharan desert. The full text of Terra Nullius is also included, for which Lindqvist traveled 7,000 miles through Australia in search of the lands the British had claimed as their own because it was inhabited by "lower races," the native Aborigines—nearly nine-tenths of whom were annihilated by whites. The shocking story of how "no man’s land" became the province of the white man was called "the most original work on Australia and its treatment of Aboriginals I have ever read . . . marvelous" by Phillip Knightley, author of Australia.
The long overdue first UK publication of one of Sven Lindqvist's best-loved books - and the one for which he is most famous in his home country - an exquisitely written meditation on the author's relationship with art.
In the late 1980s, Sven Lindqvist fell into conversation with an evangelical bodybuilder while relaxing in the sauna after his weekly swim. The conversation challenged Lindqvist's view of the sport as macho and vain and individualistic and led to his first attendance at the local gym. In Bench Press, Lindqvist takes us through his own journey in the gym, but also tells us the entertaining and bizarre history of bodybuilding and meditates on what its increased popularity tells us about contemporary society.
Conrad described his tale this way: "A wild story of a journalist who becomes manager of a station in the (African) interior and makes himself worshipped by a tribe of savages. Thus described, the subject seems comic, but it isn't."The story pivots on Charles Marlow, who while onboard a moored ship on the Thames River in London recounts to the narrator (and to the reader) his extraordinary journey up the Congo, thereby establishing straightaway, via the two rivers, contrasting symbols of the "civilized" West and "dark," uncivilized Africa, respectively. As Marlow explains, he was assigned by an ivory trading company to take command of a cargo boat stranded in the interior. Making his way through treacherous jungle, he treks from the Outer Station to the Central Station and then up the river to the Inner Station, witnessing the brutalization of the natives by white traders along the way and hearing tantalizing stories of a Mr. Kurtz, the manager of the trading station and one of the company's most successful collectors of ivory. He hears that Mr. Kurtz is unwell, and so he sets off to find him. The long and slow passage through the African heartland fills Marlow with a growing sense of dread. He and his company are attacked by African natives, and some of the crew are killed. Incrementally, Marlow learns more about the mysterious Kurtz-about his civilized traits (his painting, musical abilities, and great eloquence), his charismatic, god-like power over the natives, and the severed heads that surround his hut. Upon finding him, Marlow concludes that, in this alien context, unbound by the strictures of his own culture, Kurtz had gone mad, become a bloody tyrant, and exchanged his soul and any humanitarian ideals he may have initially had upon his arrival in Africa for abject greed and power. A mortal illness, however, is bringing his reign of terror to a close. As Kurtz dies, he whispers to Marlow, "The horror! The horror!"-seemingly acknowledging his encounter with human depravity, the heart of darkness. Marlow returns to Belgium, delivers to the trading company Kurtz's papers, including a report he had written for "The Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs" (but with Kurtz's handwritten postscript-"Exterminate all the brutes!"-ripped off), and then visits Kurtz's fiancée, to whom he lies about Kurtz's final words, saying he died proclaiming her name. Marlow is disgusted with himself, his lie, and the whole experience.This novella is astonishingly powerful and equally enigmatic. Its condemnation of Western imperialism-of the greed, violence, and exploitation that so often accompanies ventures to bring "light" and civilization to the "dark" and needy areas of the world-and its poignant look at the destructive influence of colonization on the colonized and colonizer alike, have been widely praised. However, some postcolonial African writers, most notably Chinua Achebe, deemed the book racist for its portrayal of native African cultures. The varied interpretations only underscore the novel's status as one of the most discussed and debated works of modern literature.
A provocative history of the creation of white Australia documents the hidden genocide activities directed at Aborigines, touring regions where beliefs about the rights of white people and the "inevitable extinction" of "lower races" were put into practice.