King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in the Congo

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9780333765449: King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in the Congo
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This work is the winner of the 1999 Duff Cooper Prize. "A hundred years ago, enlightened people in the western world were outraged by a holocaust in Africa which left millions dead. Denunciations thundered from speaker's platforms around the US and Europe. One open letter to "The Times" was signed by 11 peers, 19 bishops and 75 MPs. Viscount Grey, Britain's foreign secretary, declared that no overseas issue had so intensely aroused the British public for 30 years. Conan Doyle wrote a pamphlet on the Congo atrocities which sold 25,000 copies in the first week alone. Yet today not one person in a thousand could say what the fuss was all about, unless, of course, they have read this amazing book." - Tariq Ali, "Financial Times". "Fascinating ...brilliant and gripping." - "Mail on Sunday". "An exemplary piece of history writing: urgent, vivid and compelling." - "Literary Review". "Brilliant .. this book must be read and re-read." - Neal Ascherson.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Adam Hocshchild is an award-winning author and journalist, who also teaches journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of a number of books and currently lives in San Francisco.

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Adam Hochschild
Published by Papermac (2000)
ISBN 10: 0333765443 ISBN 13: 9780333765449
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