King Leopold's Ghost Hardcover – 9 Apr 1999
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
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, 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
"Adam Hochschild has a novelist's flare for narrative, and KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST is a horrifically readable history." -- Ian Thomson, The Evening Standard, 12 April 1999
"As Adam Hochschild tells in his fascinating book about the Congo's terrible encounter with Europe. . . . the creation of Zaire under the dictator Mobutu, the break-up of that country and its renaming Congo, and the civil war that rages there now--all of these can be traced back to Leopold's bloody enterprise." -- Giles Foden, The Guardian, 24 April 1999
"As Hochschild's brilliant book demonstrates, the great Congo scandal prefigured our own times. It was the first Orwellian big lie, which sold a gigantic mechanism of greed and terror to the world as a crusade for humanitarian values. . . . that is why this book must be read and reread. In its breathtaking mendacity, in its shameless industry of lies, in its elevation of sadism and greed into a civilised routine, the Congo Free State was a testing-ground for the 20th century." -- Neal Ascherson, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, 10 January 1999
"For 23 years the King . . . brought a new dark age to the Dark Continent. In that time some ten million people--half the population--died. . . . The story of this appalling episode, and the remarkable campaign led by an ordinary English shipping clerk, Edmund Dene morel, to bring it to the attention of the world, is told in this brilliant and gripping book." -- Simon Shaw, The Mail on Sunday, 4 April 1999
"Hochschild . . . has produced a history like none other. A hundred years ago, enlightened people in the western world were outraged by a holocaust in Africa which left millions dead. Denunciations thundered from speakers' platforms around the US and Europe. . . . Yet today not one person in a thousand could say what the fuss was all about, unless, of course, they have already read this amazing book." -- Tariq Ali, The Financial Times, 3-4 April 1999
"Hochschild, in his thoroughly researched and engagingly written book, tells the story of one of the greatest human rights crimes in the past hundred years. . . . King Leopold's Ghost has all the tension and drama that one would expect in a good novel. At the same time it is . . . carefully researched and historically accurate." -- Robert Harms, Times Literary Supplement, August 27, 1999
"KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST has a riveting cast of characters: heroes, villains and bit-players, all extraordinary, all compelling tangles of neuroses and ambitions, all wonderfully drawn." -- Ronan Bennett, The Observer, 2 May 1999
"KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST is an exemplary piece of history-writing: urgent, vivid and compelling." -- Robin Blackburn, Literary Review, April 1999
"To an already long list of tyrants which includes Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Idi Amin, a late addition is required.'Late' only because King Leopold II of Belgium (1835-1909) should always have been there. As 'owner' of the Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908 he was responsible for what Joseph Conrad once called 'the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience.' It is indeed a ghastly story of greed, lies and murder. And Adam Hochschild retells it well. 'King Leopold's Ghost' last week beat several excellent books to win the Lionel Gelber prize. . . . now the world's most important award for non-fiction. . . . Around the turn of this century in the depths of the Congo the bonds of humanity were unbound and the trappings of civilisation cast aside, releasing something diabolical which exists within us all. Mr. Hochschild conveys this particularly well." -- The Economist, Sept. 11, 1999
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
This is history as it should be - vivid, informed , specific - and universally, eternally relevant.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Adam Hochschilds book engages from its first page . Step by step it takes the reader down the road of colonalisation that created King Leopolds private fiefdom of the Congo . Read morePublished on 20 Feb. 2013 by Alan. J. Reynolds