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King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism - Adam Hochschild
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism
by: (author)
3.75 10
Years ago, Adam Hochschild came across a reference to the "five to eight million lives" destroyed in the colonial exploitation of the Congo. Startled, he realised that this had been "one of the major killing grounds of modern times. Why were these deaths not mentioned in the standard litany of... show more
Years ago, Adam Hochschild came across a reference to the "five to eight million lives" destroyed in the colonial exploitation of the Congo. Startled, he realised that this had been "one of the major killing grounds of modern times. Why were these deaths not mentioned in the standard litany of our century's horrors?" His corrective history makes sobering and gripping reading. In King Leopold of Belgium, who decided to buy himself an empire to compensate for his country's smallness, he portrays a villain of Shakespearian dimensions. Aided by Stanley (of "Mr Livingstone I Presume" fame) the king appropriated a section of central Africa the size of Western Europe as his personal territory. The appalling brutality that ensued, as Europeans plundered the country for rubber and ivory, is vividly captured by Hochschild. He manages to leaven the horror with touches of grotesque humour--for instance, when tricking tribal chiefs into signing away their land for bales of cloth, Stanley would, to impress his dupes, secrete a battery in his pocket with the wires in his palm, so that on shaking hands the chief "was greatly surprised to find his white brother so strong that he nearly knocked him off his feet". Hochschild has something of Simon Schama's gift for populist history; and among other things he provides astonishing background to Joseph Conrad's Congo-set masterpiece, Heart of Darkness. --Adam Roberts
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Format: paperback
ISBN: 9781447211358 (1447211359)
Publisher: Pan
Pages no: 376
Edition language: English
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Community Reviews
Warwick
Warwick rated it
‘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 coloniali...
Bettie's Books
Bettie's Books rated it
4.0 King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
bookshelves: one-penny-wonder, history, african-continent, afr-drcongo, afr-congo, nonfiction, paper-read, winter-20142015, victoriana, published-1998, tbr-busting-2015, colonial-overlords, filthy-lucre, holocaust-genocide, politics, a-questing-we-shall-go, adventure, belgium, betrayal, boo-scary, ...
Lisa (Harmony)
Lisa (Harmony) rated it
2.0 King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
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 this...
Pirlim Pem Pem
Pirlim Pem Pem rated it
5.0 Duch króla Leopolda. Opowieść o chciwości, terrorze i bohaterstwie w kolonialnej Afryce
Jedna z najlepszych książek jakie kiedykolwiek czytałam. Świetnie napisana historia "odkrywania" Afryki przez oświeconych Europejczyków i jednocześnie gorzkie podsumowanie niezbyt chlubnej karty belgijskiej historii.
Pirlim Pem Pem
Pirlim Pem Pem rated it
5.0 Duch króla Leopolda. Opowieść o chciwości, terrorze i bohaterstwie w kolonialnej Afryce
Jedna z najlepszych książek jakie kiedykolwiek czytałam. Świetnie napisana historia "odkrywania" Afryki przez oświeconych Europejczyków i jednocześnie gorzkie podsumowanie niezbyt chlubnej karty belgijskiej historii.
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