King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa / Edition 1

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa / Edition 1

4.0 54
by Adam Hochschild
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0618711678

ISBN-13: 9780618711673

Pub. Date: 04/28/2006

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

At the turn of the century, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium carried out a genocidal plundering of the territory surrounding the Congo River. Ultimately slashing the area's population by ten million, he still managed to shrewdly cultivate his reputation as a great humanitarian. A tale far richer than any novelist could invent,

Overview

At the turn of the century, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium carried out a genocidal plundering of the territory surrounding the Congo River. Ultimately slashing the area's population by ten million, he still managed to shrewdly cultivate his reputation as a great humanitarian. A tale far richer than any novelist could invent, King Leopold's Ghost is the "absorbing and horrifying account" (Los Angeles Times) of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure but unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust and participants in the twentieth century's first great human rights movement.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618711673
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/28/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384

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King Leopold's Ghost 4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 54 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Belgium is not very well known as an oppressive nation, England being the great colonial power of history. But the number of people it killed during its colonization of the Congo exceeded the European Holocaust! I'll leave it to you to buy the book and discover how much they really murdered and how. Another book that, as I like to say, will be the best time you ever had getting depressed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I believed in the innate goodness of human beings or a universal compassion for life that lives within us then - after reading this book - I feel like I was wrong. and naive. ignorant to the true nature of mankind. This book has filled me with a sadness that I'm not sure I have ever felt before... I turned each page with a hand that grew heavier and heavier and by the end it seemed like each page was filled with so much pain that I could hardly lift it up. Watching King Leopold II carefully create and control public perception and use his power to influence, manage and direct other governments, media and policy makes me acutely aware that the same thing is probably happining today. and always will. I feel overwhelmed and a little bit sick after reading this but I will recommend it to every reader I meet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A beautifully, thoughtfully written face of history of human rights and nations' hypocrisies. An in depth presentation of true heroes and villains, and human weaknesses. Introduces, well know people from varied disciplines [Arthur Conan Doyle, Bertrand Russell, Elihu Root, TR, etc, on this stage. A panoramic masterpiece. Thoughtful quote, page 204: And yet the world we live in¿its divisions and conflicts, its widening gap between rich and poor, its seemingly inexplicable outburst of violence¿is shaped by less by what we celebrate and mythologize than by the painful events we try to forget.
flyladyNM More than 1 year ago
Born in Belgium and learning the Royals in history class. This is a different story. We learned about the missionaries helping the Congolese.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant, enlightening, and so easy to read. If you want to know why Africa is so troubled today, read this book.
MWgal More than 1 year ago
excellent history book; a necessary read for all!
J_Estes More than 1 year ago
In-depth, fair account of a sad period of history. Very important for people to know today
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istubbornlysupportbn More than 1 year ago
This book is insane.  It made me feel insane because so much of the information was so new to me.  Hoshschild is an amazing storyteller and this is amazing history. Insane, amazing, horrifying, and important. 
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Rob0NY More than 1 year ago
The author assumes that readers won't get that Conrad's Heart of Darkness was set in an actual context and reflected the horrors of Leopold's Congo. While I don't agree, I am still 100% with Hochschild that the exploitation and decimation of the population of the Congo was truly horrific and has received less attention than it should. How the horrors were uncovered, the subsequent campaign against them, and the counter-campaign to white-wash history is well chronicled in Leopold's Ghost. The subsequent post-independence nightmare of the modern Congo seems almost inevitable given the events that precede it. Definitely an excellent treatment of an under-scrutinized part of history.
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geolakat More than 1 year ago
In checking the other reviews, there isn't really much that I can add; although I did find the author's personal reflections at the end of the book informative. My comment then is on the research and writing of Mr. Hochschild. I find it to be brilliant. Not only has extensive documentation been culled, the manner in which Mr. Hochschild writes, makes the narrative read like a novel. I was somewhat concerned before reading the book, that it might be to technical to be absorbed. E.D. Morel is a shining example of how we can all make a difference if we just pay attention to our surroundings. To think that a mere shipping clerk brought down this regime is proof that we can as individuals stop the flow of evil.