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From the Congo to Capitol Hill: A Coming-of-Age Memoir

Advance Praise and Reviews


"I was fascinated both by his life-altering experience in the Congo and by his first-hand picture of what happens behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. And, of course, these two worlds he experienced so intimately were intricately connected. Besides being an absorbing read in itself, this book will be essential source material for future historians exploring the American role in independent Africa."

Adam Hochschild, best selling author of King Leopold's Ghost and American Midnight


"From the Congo to Capitol Hill" offers an intimate glimpse into the evolution of American policy in a region of the world critically important to modern life and yet rarely in the headlines. Weissman uses his own experiences in the Congo and Congress - remarkable and at times humorous - to explain the competing political interests at play in America's relationship with its 'client regime,' as Weissman aptly describes the Mobutu reign. It's a valuable read for anyone interested not only in the making of U.S. policy in Africa, but of U.S. foreign policy more broadly. 

– former Senator Russell Feingold, President, American Constitution Society


"Steve's memoir, which reads with the smoothness of a Graham Greene novel, traces his intimate relationship with the Congo from his early academic misadventures in Kisangani to his important work on Capitol Hill. In doing so, he shares significant political insights on former President Mobutu, the role of the CIA and the U.S. in elevating him to power and the battles in Congress to reduce military assistance to the Mobutu's government. Although Steve's book is a personal journey, it provides useful policy insights for analysts, activists and academics working on tough African issues."

Johnnie Carson, former United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs


"As a political memoir, Steve Weissman's book From the Congo to Capitol Hill is a magnum opus by an American scholar and public servant who has spent much of his life learning from and interacting with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This magnificent book in which the author is so honest in showing his own strengths and weaknesses... Taken together with his earlier books on U.S. foreign policy in the Congo and the weakness of the U.S. Congress on foreign policy, it is a memoir that people interested in learning more about these two topics ought to read."

- Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, Professor of African and Global Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


 "Riveting.....The highlight of the first part of his story comes when student protests erupt at his university [in the Congo].Weissman was unexpectedly accused of complicity in the events, eventually leading to his forced departure...Other colorful tales make up the instructive, if disconcerting, second part of Weissman's book, an insider's look at the political maneuvering and sausage-making that can accompany congressional aid to supposedly benefit foreign lands -- not just prop up an American-backed dictator, or U.S. vendors doing business in the country. Weissman offers a well-informed perspective based on decades of experience, enlivened by strong narratives, telling anecdotes and detail." - Spytalk


"Not only a well-written memoir but significant insights into the Congo and U.S. foreign policy. A must-read for anyone interested in U.S. ties with the Congo and its kleptocratic ruler Mobutu Sese Seko." - Africa Focus Notes