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King Leopold's ghost : a story of greed, terror, and heroism in colonial Africa
Hochschild, Adam
Adult Nonfiction DT655.H63 1998

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Hochschild's superb, engrossing chronicle focuses on one of the great, horrifying and nearly forgotten crimes of the century: greedy Belgian King Leopold II's rape of the Congo, the vast colony he seized as his private fiefdom in 1885. Until 1909, he used his mercenary army to force slaves into mines and rubber plantations, burn villages, mete out sadistic punishments, including dismemberment, and committ mass murder. The hero of Hochschild's highly personal, even gossipy narrative is Liverpool shipping agent Edmund Morel, who, having stumbled on evidence of Leopold's atrocities, became an investigative journalist and launched an international Congo reform movement with support from Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington and Arthur Conan Doyle. Other pivotal figures include Joseph Conrad, whose disgust with Leopold's "civilizing mission" led to Heart of Darkness; and black American journalist George Washington Williams, who wrote the first systematic indictment of Leopold's colonial regime in 1890. Hochschild (The Unquiet Ghost) documents the machinations of Leopold, who won over President Chester A. Arthur and bribed a U.S. senator to derail Congo protest resolutions. He also draws provocative parallels between Leopold's predatory one-man rule and the strongarm tactics of Mobuto Sese Seko, who ruled the successor state of Zaire. But most of all it is a story of the bestiality of one challenged by the heroism of many in an increasingly democratic world. 30 illustrations. Agent: Georges Borchardt. First serial rights to American Scholar. Author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Having had two books named to LJ's Best Books list in the past‘Half the Way Home in 1986 and The Unquiet Ghost in 1994‘Hochschild wins the Triple Crown with this powerfully moving account of enslavement, mutilation, and murder in 19th-century Africa. Though it is not well known today, five to eight million African lives were lost when the Belgians colonized the Congo under King Leopold‘a slaughter that, as Hochschild points out, proves Conrad's Mr. Kurtz to be no exaggeration. Hochschild is quietly devastating: he's got the facts, gleaned from prodigious research, and they speak‘damningly‘for themselves. (LJ 9/15/98) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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