Next week, Arsenal Pulp Press will release Postcards from Congo, a graphic novel history of the Democratic Republic of Congo from cartoonist Edmund Trueman. Ahead of the book’s release, The Beat is pleased to present an exclusive first look at Trueman’s preface to the graphic novel.

Here’s how Arsenal Pulp Press describes Postcards from Congo:

The Democratic Republic of Congo, the second-largest country in Africa by area, has a fractured and bloody history, variously undone by decades of colonialism, civil war, corruption, and totalitarian rule. The country has played a crucial role in the economic growth of the Global North, but in doing so, has suffered immensely. So many seminal advances in technology were possible only through the extraction of materials from Congo, from rubber to copper to uranium to coltan. In each case, the Congolese people paid a great price exacerbated by the weight of colonial exploitation and dictatorial rule.

In this comprehensive graphic history, author and illustrator Edmund Trueman explores the fractious story of Congo. Through deft illustrations and storytelling, Congo’s history – not widely known to Western readers – comes vividly alive. We see how Congolese musicians have spread their language across Africa by creating some of the most popular music on the continent, and how Congolese women have spent decades sidestepping sexist legislation to become leaders in local business. From resistance against colonialism to the fight for independence and the self-determination to make a life in an almost stateless place, Postcards from Congo depicts how the Congolese people have resisted and survived in order to take control of their lives and the country they call home.

While Edmund Trueman has been producing comics for the past decade, Postcards from Congo is the cartoonist’s first graphic novel. The book also features an introduction from Johns Hopkins University Professor of African History Didier Gondola, himself the author of a 2002 book on the History of Congo.

You can read Trueman’s preface to the forthcoming book below. Postcards from Congo is due out in stores next Tuesday, October 25th.