Ratings : 30730

Review : 2029


Published : Sept. 3, 1999

By : Mariner Books

Language : eng

Paperback : 306 Pages

Published : Sept. 3, 1999

By : Mariner Books

Language : eng

Paperback : 306 Pages

King Leopold's Ghost

30730 Ratings - 2029 Review

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



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ABOUT Adam Hochschild

Hochschild was born in New York City. As a college student, he spent a summer working on an anti-government newspaper in South Africa and subsequently worked briefly as a civil rights worker in Mississippi in 1964. Both were politically pivotal experiences about which he would later write in his book Finding the Trapdoor. He later was part of the movement against the Vietnam War, and, after several years as a daily newspaper reporter, worked as a writer and editor for the leftwing Ramparts magazine. In the mid-1970s, he was one of the co-founders of Mother Jones.

Hochschild's first book was a memoir, Half the Way Home: a Memoir of Father and Son (1986), in which he described the difficult relationship he had with his father. His later books include The Mirror at Midnight: a South African Journey (1990; new edition, 2007), The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin (1994; new edition, 2003), Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels (1997), which collects his personal essays and reportage, and King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (1998; new edition, 2006), a history of the conquest and colonization of the Congo by Belgium's King Léopold II. His Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves, published in 2005, is about the antislavery movement in the British Empire.

Hochschild has also written for The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The Nation. He was also a commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. Hochschild's books have been translated into twelve languages.

A frequent lecturer at Harvard's annual Nieman Narrative Journalism Conference and similar venues, Hochschild lives in San Francisco and teaches writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He is married to sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild.

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Hoc...