King Leopold's Ghost

King Leopold's Ghost

by

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In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million--all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. 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 and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II. With great power and compassion, King Leopold's Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo--too long forgotten--onto the conscience of the West

Title:King Leopold's Ghost
Edition Language:English
ISBN:null
Format Type:

    King Leopold's Ghost Reviews

  • William2

    A few things. First, I have read widely about Mao's Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward (40 to 70 million dead), Stalin's purges and programs of collectivization (20 million dead) and Hitler's ...

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    ”The Congo in Leopold’s mind was not the one of starving porters, raped hostages, emaciated rubber slaves, and severed hands. It was the empire of his dreams, with gigantic trees, exotic animals, ...

  • Beata

    The book was written 20 years ago, and yet, it is so eye-opening! The theme has not been covered enough …. My idea of atrocities committed in the Congo in the second half of the 19th century were mo...

  • Trevor

    This is a remarkably painful book. There are a number of estimates given throughout of the extent of the extermination of people in the Congo under King Leopold – the author says perhaps 8-10 millio...

  • Beverly

    The best non-fiction book I've ever read. The hyphenated title on the book is a story of greed, terror and heroism in colonial Africa and that sums it up very well. Such horrific treatment including b...

  • Michael

    This work of popular history does a great job of bringing to life the story of King Leopold of Belgium’s orchestration of a private empire in the Congo near the end of the 19th century. His greed dr...

  • Malia

    This is a difficult book to review, because I am still thinking about it and probably will for some time. Of course I knew about King Leopold and his cruelty in the Congo, but nothing to this extent. ...

  • Warwick

    ‘Exterminate all the brutes!’ – KurtzA very readable summary of one of the first real international human rights campaigns, a campaign focussed on that vast slab of central Africa once owned, no...

  • Sebastien

    Phenomenal book. I can't recommend this enough. Impeccably researched and told in a narrative style that is incredibly accessible. Hochschild focuses on a small cast of characters, follows their stori...

  • Dmitri

    This is a tragic history of the Belgian Congo at the turn of the 19th century as the 'Scramble for Africa' began. Adam Hochschild is an American writer and journalist for the New Yorker, NY Times, NY ...