Synopses & Reviews
Belgium was a small, neutral country without a colonial tradition when King Leopold II ceded the Congo, his personal property, to the state in 1908. For the next half century, Belgium not only ruled an African empire but also, through widespread, enduring, and eagerly embraced propaganda, produced an imperialist-minded citizenry.
and#160;Selling the Congo is a study of European pro-empire propaganda in Belgium, with particular emphasis on the period 1908and#8211;60. Matthew G. Stanard examines the nature of Belgian imperialism in the Congo and considers its case in light of literature on the French, the British, and other European overseas empires. Comparing Belgium to other imperial powers, the book finds that pro-empire propaganda was a basic part of European overseas expansion and administration during the modern period. Arguing against the long-held belief that Belgians were merely and#8220;reluctant imperialists,and#8221; Stanard demonstrates that in fact many Belgians readily embraced imperialistic propaganda.
and#160;Selling the Congo contributes to our understanding of the effectiveness of twentieth-century propaganda by revealing its successes and failures in the Belgian case. Many readers familiar with more-popular histories of Belgian imperialism will find in this book a deeper examination of European involvement in central Africa during the colonial era.
"[Selling the Congo is a] fascinating history of Belgium's 20th-century colonial culture."and#8212;Martin Rubin, Wall Street Journal
"An excellent contribution to the growing literature on the European advocacy of colonialism in the 20th century."—J. M. Rich, Choice J. M. Rich
"[Selling the Congo contributes] to a broader understanding of the impact of colonialism on colonial powers."and#8212;Geert Castryck, H-Net
"The breadth of topics covered in this book is wideand#8212;each of them could fill a separate monograph. It is to Stanard's credit that he is able to pull them together. . . . Scholars of other European empires seeking to gain comparative knowledge will find this book useful."and#8212;Sarah Van Beurden, H-France
"Matthew Stanard's Selling the Congo looks to expand our view of European colonial culture and consider the new understandings of empire in a different context, that of Belgian imperialism and pro-empire propaganda."and#8212;Elizabeth Stice, H-Empire
and#8220;A welcome addition to studies of the imperial metropole. . . . Written in a clear and very direct style, which makes it accessible to a broad audience, including undergraduates.and#8221;and#8212;David Ciarlo, American Historical Review
"[Selling the Congo is] a useful addition to the growing body of 'end of empire' retrospectives that explore the impact of imperial expansion on the social imaginary of the European population."and#8212;Crawford Young, The Historian
About the Author
Matthew G. Stanard is an associate professor of history at Berry College. His articles have appeared in publications such as the Journal of Contemporary History
, French Colonial History
, and European History Quarterly