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

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Read King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa Online Free - 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: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0618001905
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 306 pages


Reviews


William1 rated it ★★★★☆

August 20, 2017

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 to 50 million dead,) and Hitler's genocide (11 million dead). I am largely unshockable. However, the avarice and deceit of K...


Michael rated it ★★★★★

September 04, 2013

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 driven campaign presaged the 20th century shenanigans with its use of political intrigue, bribery, me...


Warwick rated it ★★★☆☆

July 23, 2016

‘Exterminate all the brutes!’ – Kurtz A 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, not by Belgium, but personally by the Belgian King. The Congo Free State was a handy microcosm of colonia...


Sebastien rated it ★★★★★

June 18, 2017

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 stories in such an intimate way that the history and the story come to life in a novelesque way. I don...


Eric_W rated it ★★★★★

January 31, 2009

The Belgian Congo, as Zaire and now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, were formerly called was the creation of King Leopold of Belgium who desperately wanted a colony. By the late 19th century there was little land left for the taking except in Africa and it had become obvious that taking ove...


David rated it ★★★★☆

August 17, 2007

Horrifying story, rivetingly told. Regrettably, much of my reading of history has been centered primarily on the history of Europe and of the U.S. Hochschild's account of Belgium's exploitation of the Congo left me appalled. Despite the accounts of some truly savage atrocities, I ended up reading...


Rashmi rated it ★★★★★

September 03, 2007

This book took me several months to read because it was so disturbing. After reading a chapter and having nightmares, I'd put it away for something else, and then return to it once I'd finished with the other book. The atrocities committed in the Belgian Congo were nothing short of diabolical. And...


Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it ★★☆☆☆

January 04, 2012

If you ask an educated American to name the worst despots and atrocities of the twentieth century, you'll immediately hear such names as Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Very few would name Leopold II, King of the Belgians and absolute master of the Belgian Congo. I wouldn't have before reading t...


Trish rated it ★★★★☆

August 24, 2014

This book begins with the assertion of evil. It made me uneasy. I prefer to hear the facts and draw my own conclusions. But I felt far less willing to grant King Leopold’s side another instant of attention after realizing that the facts had been obscured for a century or more by repression of doc...


AC rated it ★★★★☆

April 19, 2013

A very troubling look at the Belgian involvement in the Congo -- a chapter in the European 'Scramble for Africa' -- that I had not known much about. Leopold, in particular, comes out looking very bad. The book (which I listened to as an audio) is still a bit too long and spends too much time on n...





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