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

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

by Adam Hochschild
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Overview

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild

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: 9780395759240
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/01/1998
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.37(w) x 9.35(h) x 1.28(d)

About the Author

ADAM HOCHSCHILD is the author of seven books. King Leopold's Ghost was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as was his recent To End All Wars. His Bury the Chains was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and PEN USA Literary Award. He lives in Berkeley, California.


Hometown:

San Francisco, California

Date of Birth:

October 5, 1942

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Education:

A.B., Harvard College, 1963

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King Leopold's Ghost 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 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
An incredible story of one of the world's least known mass murderers. I include parts of the book's information when I teach my university class on the period. Sobering in its examination of Leopold's devious means of obtaining and destroying the Congo. A revelation of the US involvement in this coup. A must read for history buffs. It is so good I bought it as a Nook book and then had to have the hard copy.
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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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