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King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed,…

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial… (1998)

by Adam Hochschild

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1931022,506 (4.29)246
  1. 70
    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (chrisharpe)
  2. 40
    We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch (paulkid)
    paulkid: Complementary accounts of international interest in Central Africa's material resources, but disinterest in its people.
  3. 40
    Exterminate All the Brutes by Sven Lindqvist (Anonymous user)
  4. 10
    Congo: The Epic History of a People by David Van Reybrouck (otori)
  5. 00
    Presbyterian Pioneers in Congo by William H. Sheppard (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Sheppard's book is discussed in King Leopold's Ghost. It's a vivid account and visually interesting to use Google Maps to track Sheppard's trail through the Congo.
  6. 00
    The Inheritors by Joseph Conrad (bertilak)
    bertilak: A character in The Inheritors by Conrad and Ford is based upon Leopold II, King of the Belgians
  7. 00
    Tears of the Tree: The Story of Rubber--A Modern Marvel by John Loadman (KayCliff)

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» See also 246 mentions

English (96)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (102)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
History of the massive white violence in the Belgian Congo (and surrounds) that claimed ten million lives at the turn of the twentieth century in search of profit and control. It’s a chilling story, including cautionary elements about Leopold’s excellent press manipulation, as well as some significant heroes, including an African-American preacher/activist and a shipping accountant-turned-activist who noticed that cargoes weren’t going out with enough trade goods to account for the riches they brought back. ( )
  rivkat | Sep 14, 2018 |
  oirm42 | May 24, 2018 |
My professors 30 years ago taught The Heart of Darkness as a Freudian novel, which never made much sense to me. This history of Belgian Colonialism gave me the piece I was missing: Conrad wrote HOD amid growing protests of slavery and genocide in the Congo. Colonel Kurtz was based on a real man. This is a gripping book--the horror, the horror!! ( )
  LaurelPoe | Dec 25, 2017 |
This book has been on my to-read list since it was published, about twenty years ago. The history is horrific, though better known now thanks to Hochschild and a few other brave researchers, but it should be even more widely known than it is, especially the stories of the men and women who courageously took on a monarch and a host of commercial interests in order to combat slavery and injustice. Although the events chronicled happened a century and more ago, they reverberate today. Unfortunately, slavery and torture and death in the interest of profits continue to plague humankind. Bravo to Adam Hochschild for holding this mirror to us all! ( )
  nmele | Sep 9, 2017 |
King Leopold II of Belgium was one callous S.O.B. and "King Leopold's Ghost" gives us plenty of evidence to back this up.

Leopold wanted a huge colony that he could make whopping great wads of cash from. That opportunity came along with the Belgian Congo, and Leopold ruthlessly exploited the area, and its people for the riches that ivory, and later rubber, brought. Hochschild does an amazing job covering the Belgian Congo's creation, existence and finally the move from personal asset of Leopold to actual colony of Belgium. Along the way we meet a swathe of people from writer Joseph Conrad to explorer Henry Stanley to Sir Roger Casement and more. We also get to meet, if briefly, geographical oddities like the Lado Enclave and see how it all washes out (spoiler alert: great for Leopold, poorly for just about everyone else). ( )
  MiaCulpa | Aug 11, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Although much of the material in "King Leopold's Ghost" is secondhand -- the author has drawn heavily from Jules Marchal's scholarly four-volume history of turn-of-the-century Congo and from "The Scramble for Africa," Thomas Pakenham's wide-ranging 1991 study of the European conquest of the continent -- Hochschild has stitched it together into a vivid, novelistic narrative that makes the reader acutely aware of the magnitude of the horror perpetrated by King Leopold and his minions.
Adam Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost" is an absorbing and horrifying account of the traffic in human misery that went on in Leopold's so-called Congo Free State, and of the efforts of a handful of heroic crusaders to bring the atrocities to light. Among other things, it stands as a reminder of how quickly enormities can be forgotten.
added by lorax | editSan Francisco Gate, Luc Sante (Sep 27, 1998)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adam Hochschildprimary authorall editionscalculated
Björkegren, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For David Hunter (1916-2000).
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The beginnings of this story lie far back in time, and its reverberations still sound today.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618001905, Paperback)

King Leopold of Belgium, writes historian Adam Hochschild in this grim history, did not much care for his native land or his subjects, all of which he dismissed as "small country, small people." Even so, he searched the globe to find a colony for Belgium, frantic that the scramble of other European powers for overseas dominions in Africa and Asia would leave nothing for himself or his people. When he eventually found a suitable location in what would become the Belgian Congo, later known as Zaire and now simply as Congo, Leopold set about establishing a rule of terror that would culminate in the deaths of 4 to 8 million indigenous people, "a death toll," Hochschild writes, "of Holocaust dimensions." Those who survived went to work mining ore or harvesting rubber, yielding a fortune for the Belgian king, who salted away billions of dollars in hidden bank accounts throughout the world. Hochschild's fine book of historical inquiry, which draws heavily on eyewitness accounts of the colonialists' savagery, brings this little-studied episode in European and African history into new light. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:26 -0400)

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Documents the plundering of the territory.

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