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11 Local Warehouse Africa- Congo

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

by

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

ISBN13: 9780618001903
ISBN10: 0618001905
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Review:

"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.... Among other things, it stands as a reminder of how quickly enormities can be forgotten....[a] gripping narrative, as dense as a novel and laden with subplots...." Luc Sante, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

Review:

"...a vivid, novelistic narrative that makes the reader acutely aware of the magnitude of the horror perpetrated by King Leopold and his minions." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Review:

"King Leopold's Ghost is a remarkable achievement, hugely satisfying on many levels. It overwhelmed me in the way Heart of Darkness did when I first read it." Paul Theroux

Review:

"Hochschild's outstanding study, unmatched by any other work on the Congo, reveals how all Europe — and the USA — contributed to the making of King Leopold's holocaust of the Congolese people." Nadine Gordimer

Review:

"The author of The Unquiet Ghost: Russia Remembers Stalin, one of Library Journal's best books of 1994, takes on another megalomaniac." Library Journal

Review:

"Adam Hochschild's spellbinding account of imperial machinations and how these led to the first major human-rights movement of this century present a dynamic story." Robert Taylor, The Boston Globe

Review:

"A superb synoptic history of European misdemeanor in central Africa." Jeremy Harding — The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[D]raws on memoris, missionary accounts, government rcords, and the testimony of Africans themselves to unearth the long-forgotten facts behind Conrad's fiction....the kind remains a shadowy villain...[but] Hochschild vividly brings to life the activists whose battle agains Leopold dominates the book's second half." Rebecca A. Clay, WQ: The Wilson Quarterly

Review:

"This true story of the Congo is 'full of fascinating characters, intense drama, high adventure, courageous truth-telling, and splendid moral fervor. . . A work of history that reads like a novel.... An enthralling story." Christian Science Monitor

Synopsis:

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.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 338-350) and index.

About the Author

Adam Hochschild was born in New York City in 1942. His first book, HALF THE WAY HOME: A MEMOIR OF FATHER AND SON, was published in 1986. It was followed by THE MIRROR AT MIDNIGHT: A SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNEY (1990) and THE UNQUIET GHOST: RUSSIANS REMEMBER STALIN (1994). FINDING THE TRAPDOOR: ESSAYS, PORTRAITS, TRAVELS won the 1998 PEN/Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award for the Art of the Essay. Hochschild's books have been translated into five languages and have won prizes from the Overseas Press Club of America, the World Affairs Council, the Eugene V. Debs Foundation, and the Society of American Travel Writers. Three of his books - including KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST - have been named Notable Books of the Year by THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW and LIBRARY JOURNAL. KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST was also awarded the 1998 California Book Awards gold medal for nonfiction. Hochschild has also written for THE NEW YORKER, HARPER'S MAGAZINE, THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, MOTHER JONES (which he co-founded), THE NATION, and many other magazines and newspapers. A former commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," he teaches writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1997-98 he was a Fulbright Lecturer in India. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Arlie, the sociologist and author. They have two sons.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Rick Vigorous, August 28, 2015 (view all comments by Rick Vigorous)
This jaw-dropping book tells the story of the tragic and ruthless - but largely forgotten - plundering of the Congo during the colonial “scramble” for Africa by European powers. It is also the story of how that plundering was exposed and defeated through the first great human rights campaign of the twentieth century.

The story begins with a trio of villains whose bumblings and shortcomings would be comical if they didn’t lie at the root of one of modern history’s greatest atrocities. The first was Henry Morton Stanley, a wearer of absurd safari caps who fabricated his autobiography and even his own name, as well as swashbuckling stories of his grand adventures in Africa’s interior that made him one of the most famous explorers of his era. The next was Leopold II, the Belgian monarch whose insecurity about the tiny size of his kingdom led him to a single-minded pursuit of an African colony at any cost, portraying his ruthless grab for power and wealth as a humanitarian intervention. Finally, there was Henry Sanford, a failed inventor, incompetent businessman, and former American diplomat whose susceptibility to a monarch’s flattery led him to petition his own government to recognize Belgium’s hold on the Congo as peaceful and legitimate. Although these three men came from very disparate backgrounds and had differing agendas, they were united by a burning desire to be more important than they actually were.

After learning in detail how Leopold got his colony, we read with great indignation about how he squeezed it for every ounce of ivory and drop of rubber that he could, spending the profits on lavish palaces for himself and Parisian shopping sprees for his teenage mistress. Meanwhile in Africa, from the slaughter of entire villages to station supervisors collecting natives’ heads, the magnitude of the abuses carried out by his men almost defy description. With estimated death tolls in the millions, Leopold's looting of the Congo stands on par with any of the much more widely known genocides and mass murders of the twentieth century.

But Leopold’s reign of terror wouldn’t last forever. The beginning of the end came about when E. D. Morel, an employee of the shipping line that brought ivory and rubber from the Congo back to Belgium, observed that the ships were sending nothing back to the Congo in return, and concluded that the only way these resources could have been obtained was by slave labor. Although there was nothing special in Morel’s background to single him out as a likely human rights crusader, he knew that something had to be done and proceeded to do it. Recruiting allies, giving speeches, and writing hundreds of articles and thousands of letters, Morel abandoned his job and spearheaded a decade-long movement to make the world aware of the horrors going on in Africa and to put an end to them.

For a book that’s so deeply researched, King Leopold’s Ghost is quite a page turner. With villains, heroes, and drama aplenty, Hochschild keeps us on the edge of our seat as he guides us through this forgotten chapter of history.
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JLH3179, July 6, 2010 (view all comments by JLH3179)
What an amazing book. I read it years ago, and every time I revisit it, it gets better. It is so well-written that it reads like a novel, but it is about a very dark period of history. This book is like the background to Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Adam Hochschild skillfully portrays not only the atrocities of King Leopold's rule but also the beauty of the Congolese people. Whether you are a serious student of history or just looking for a fascinating read for your vacation, this is the book for you.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780618001903
Author:
Hochschild, Adam
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Location:
Boston :
Subject:
Africa
Subject:
History
Subject:
Political History
Subject:
Indigenous peoples
Subject:
Forced labor
Subject:
Human rights movements
Subject:
Africa - General
Subject:
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Subject:
Forced labor -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Subject:
World History-Africa
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
September 1999
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.88 in 1.01 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa Used Trade Paper
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$7.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Mariner Books - English 9780618001903 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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.... Among other things, it stands as a reminder of how quickly enormities can be forgotten....[a] gripping narrative, as dense as a novel and laden with subplots...."
"Review" by , "...a vivid, novelistic narrative that makes the reader acutely aware of the magnitude of the horror perpetrated by King Leopold and his minions."
"Review" by , "King Leopold's Ghost is a remarkable achievement, hugely satisfying on many levels. It overwhelmed me in the way Heart of Darkness did when I first read it."
"Review" by , "Hochschild's outstanding study, unmatched by any other work on the Congo, reveals how all Europe — and the USA — contributed to the making of King Leopold's holocaust of the Congolese people."
"Review" by , "The author of The Unquiet Ghost: Russia Remembers Stalin, one of Library Journal's best books of 1994, takes on another megalomaniac."
"Review" by , "Adam Hochschild's spellbinding account of imperial machinations and how these led to the first major human-rights movement of this century present a dynamic story."
"Review" by , "A superb synoptic history of European misdemeanor in central Africa."
"Review" by , "[D]raws on memoris, missionary accounts, government rcords, and the testimony of Africans themselves to unearth the long-forgotten facts behind Conrad's fiction....the kind remains a shadowy villain...[but] Hochschild vividly brings to life the activists whose battle agains Leopold dominates the book's second half."
"Review" by , "This true story of the Congo is 'full of fascinating characters, intense drama, high adventure, courageous truth-telling, and splendid moral fervor. . . A work of history that reads like a novel.... An enthralling story."
"Synopsis" by ,
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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