King Leopold's Ghost (Hochschild)

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
Adam Hochschild, 1998
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
400 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780618001903

In the 1880's, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and largely unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River.

Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed the population by ten million—all while shrewdly cultivating his international reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose this secret crime finally led to the first great international human rights movement of the 20th century in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated.

King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting portrait of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply involving story of those who fought Leopold and of the explorers, missionaries, and rubber workers who witnessed the horror.

With a cast of characters richer than any novelist could invent, this book will permanently inscribe these too long forgotten events on the conscience of the West. (From the publisher.)

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