King Leopold's Ghost

King Leopold s Ghost In the s as the European powers were carving up Africa King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River Carrying out a genocidal

  • Title: King Leopold's Ghost
  • Author: Adam Hochschild
  • ISBN: 9780333765449
  • Page: 239
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputationIn the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated King Leopold s Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II With great power and compassion, King Leopold s Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo too long forgotten onto the conscience of the West

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      Published :2020-01-11T08:33:05+00:00

    1 thought on “King Leopold's Ghost”

    1. A few things. First, I have read widely about Mao's Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward (40 to 70 million dead), Stalin's purges and programs of collectivization (100 million dead) and Hitler's genocide (11 million dead). I am largely unshockable. However, the avarice and deceit of King Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo (15 million dead) has been something of a revelation. I hereby enter his name in my Rogues Gallery roster. It is important that we remember what he perpetrated for his ow [...]

    2. This work of popular history does a great job of bringing to life the story of King Leopold of Belgium’s orchestration of a private empire in the Congo near the end of the 19th century. His greed driven campaign presaged the 20th century shenanigans with its use of political intrigue, bribery, media manipulation, and lies. The popular explorer Henry Morton Stanley was wooed and appropriated to make his dream become a reality. Its economic success was founded on the institutionalization of slav [...]

    3. ‘Exterminate all the brutes!’ – KurtzA very readable summary of one of the first real international human rights campaigns, a campaign focussed on that vast slab of central Africa once owned, not by Belgium, but personally by the Belgian King. The Congo Free State was a handy microcosm of colonialism in its most extreme and polarised form: political control subsumed into corporate control, natural resources removed wholesale, local peoples dispossessed of their lands, their freedom, their [...]

    4. Phenomenal book. I can't recommend this enough. Impeccably researched and told in a narrative style that is incredibly accessible. Hochschild focuses on a small cast of characters, follows their stories in such an intimate way that the history and the story come to life in a novelesque way. I don't know much about colonialism. This book was a great way to get a sense of it and its exploitative evils and how imperialistic capitalism can bring out the absolute worst in human beings. The cool thing [...]

    5. Horrifying story, rivetingly told. Regrettably, much of my reading of history has been centered primarily on the history of Europe and of the U.S. Hochschild's account of Belgium's exploitation of the Congo left me appalled. Despite the accounts of some truly savage atrocities, I ended up reading it in a couple of marathon sittings. A disturbing book, but one so well-written, I highly recommend it.

    6. The Belgian Congo, as Zaire and now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, were formerly called was the creation of King Leopold of Belgium who desperately wanted a colony. By the late 19th century there was little land left for the taking except in Africa and it had become obvious that taking over independent lands was neither wise nor practical. King Leopold II, King of the Belgians, was a man of enormous appetites both for land and food—he once ate two whole pheasants at a restaurant in Pari [...]

    7. This book took me several months to read because it was so disturbing. After reading a chapter and having nightmares, I'd put it away for something else, and then return to it once I'd finished with the other book.The atrocities committed in the Belgian Congo were nothing short of diabolical. And yet, shockingly, one of the worst genocides of the twentieth century remains relatively unheard of.I am a big fan of Adam Hochschild; he makes you feel like you're reading a novel rather than a historic [...]

    8. If you ask an educated American to name the worst despots and atrocities of the twentieth century, you'll immediately hear such names as Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Very few would name Leopold II, King of the Belgians and absolute master of the Belgian Congo. I wouldn't have before reading this book, yet a man thousands of miles from a land he never visited is charged with instituting policies responsible for 10 million deaths in the course of a couple of decades, sparking the "first great [...]

    9. The best historical novel I've ever read. The hyphenated title on the book is a story of greed, terror and heroism in colonial Africa and that sums it up very well. Such horrific treatment including brutal maiming and killing of workers, including children, who refused to work for King Leopold's rubber plantations is a story untold for centuries and deserves this fine treatment by Adam Hochschild. King Leopold of Belgium was an unrepentant monster.

    10. This book begins with the assertion of evil. It made me uneasy. I prefer to hear the facts and draw my own conclusions. But I felt far less willing to grant King Leopold’s side another instant of attention after realizing that the facts had been obscured for a century or more by repression of documents relating to the case in Belgian state archives. Better that we finally uncover the ugly truth and take its lesson: unbridled greed may be the ugliest, most unforgivable, most unnecessary sin of [...]

    11. I had 2 interesting experiences relating to this book while I was reading it. First, I recieved a call from an Airmiles rep who spoke with a thick African accent, he had no difficulty spelling my last name. He told me he came from the Congo, previously a Belgian colony where many names start with "van", hence his ease with my name. After telling him I was reading "King Leopold's Ghost", we talked for quite some time about the state of his homeland. He remarked that the people of the Congo are in [...]

    12. A very troubling look at the Belgian involvement in the Congo -- a chapter in the European 'Scramble for Africa' -- that I had not known much about. Leopold, in particular, comes out looking very bad. The book (which I listened to as an audio) is still a bit too long and spends too much time on narrow topics -- and engages in a bit of hagiography of E.D. Morel and Roger Casement. In other words, the author is trying to appeal to the pathos in the reader, where more detachment would have made for [...]

    13. (view spoiler)[Bettie's BooksThe shelving, status updates and star rating constitute how I felt about this book. (hide spoiler)]

    14. A stunning and fearsome book, bristling with focused rage at one of the great ignored evils of the 19th century. This is not merely a catalog of horror, but also a history of the precursor to the modern human-rights movement, revealing the sacrifices and valiant efforts of those who refused to let the atrocities continue.Highly recommended - for those who want to see humanity at its most evil and also at its highest peak.

    15. CRIMINI CONTRO L’UMANITÀ“Cuore di tenebra” è spesso considerato un’allegoria, o una parabola, freudiana – e Kurtz, il suo protagonista assassino, un folle che ha letto troppo e digerito male Nietzsche. In realtà, come il libro di Hochschild dimostra, Kurtz fu basato su un collage di figure storiche e l’orrore descritto era realistico quanto mai: il romanzo di Conrad è un ritratto preciso dettagliato e profondo di quello che era il Congo sotto la dominazione del re del Belgio, Leo [...]

    16. The fault in this book is set out by Hochschild both in the introduction and again in his afterword. Here's what he says - Looking back on this book after an interval of some years has reminded me of where I wish I could have done more. My greatest frustration lay in how hard it was to portray individual Africans as full-fledged actors in this story. Historians often face such difficulties, since the written record from colonizers, the rich, and the powerful is always more plentiful than it is f [...]

    17. Ten years before the discovery of America, the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão discovered the Congo River. 18 years later another Portuguese ship discovered Brazil. Thus began the lucrative slave trade to supply workers for Brazil’s mines and plantations. Congo ivory was sent to Europe in trade for cheap consumer goods but mostly for guns. The exploitation of the Congo’s resources was underway. By the late 19th century the Europeans were scrambling to dominate Africa and the heretofore impene [...]

    18. This book will be tons of fun for anyone who enjoys righteous lying.Parmi bien bien d'autres choses "Les fantômes du roi Léopold, Un holocauste oublié" contient des exposés des pratiques macabres et meurtrièrs du régime Belge au Congo, les aventures sexuelles du Roi Léopold II avec des adolescentes et des rendez-vous avec des adolescents de Sir Roger Casement un des adversaires principaux du système du travail forcé au Congo. La véracité est la seule chose qui manque dans ce livre tr [...]

    19. Before Pol Pot's Kampuchea, Hitler's Auschwitz, and Stalin's Gulag, there was Belgian monarch Leopold II's Congo. For over twenty years, Leopold literally owned the Belgian Congo as a personal fief, free of interference from his own people. While in charge, he ruthlessly exploited the native population in collecting rubber. With his Force Publique enforcers, men were sent out to collect rubber from wild trees while their wives and children were held hostage. If they failed to meet their quotas, [...]

    20. A profoundly disturbing account of one of the modern era's forgotten atrocities. The book is written with great empathy yet manages to eschew pity or melodrama, a balance that highlights the horrific, tragic tale of King Leopold's colonization and rape of the Congo. An unnerving reminder of man's inhumanity to man, and how the 20th century was built upon the corpses of tens of millions of African natives.

    21. The century that gave us Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Chairman Mao and Pol Pot was ushered in by the worst criminal of them all: King Leopold II of Belgium. That's right, BELGIUM!!! For all the evil perpetrated by the 'A-List A-holes of the 20th Century', none of them outdid King Leopold II.Between 1885 and 1908, under King Leopold II's rule, an estimated 10 to 13 Million human beings were killed in the African Congo. Those Congolese who survived were tortured, maimed, raped, forced into slavery [...]

    22. King Leopold II of Belgium exploited and ruined the Congo between 1885 and 1908--just over 100 years ago. Eleven million people were killed, not for ideology of any kind, but for pursuit of one man's personal greed. Leopold would not have been able to accomplish this heinous crime alone. He required explorers, government and military personnel, and multitudes of other men and women to silently witness and/or participate in atrocities that reeked with brutality and racism. I, and many others, kne [...]

    23. It's gratifying to get the chance to read a book as powerful and influential as this. King Leopold's Ghost is the book that re-exposed the atrocities Leopold committed against the Congo between 1880 and 1910 - atrocities that sank out of sight after they were finally stopped. An estimated ten million Congolese died during that time.It's even more gratifying to find that Hochschild's book is well-written, too; it's fast, gripping and clearly laid out. Rarely, I read a book that's so important and [...]

    24. A colonial morality play. The story in "King Leopold's Ghost" is a powerful one -- colonization taken to its extreme -- but the book is rendered mediocre by the author's trite moralizing, lack of historical rigor, and tiresome reliance on depicting every actor with either a halo or horns. Leopold, here an antagonist of extraordinary guile, is only weakly connected to the governmental and business interests with which he worked; the reader is given pages of anecdote concerning the king's depravit [...]

    25. Powerful, harrowing, thrilling, deeply moving this is history writing at its finest. Hochschild delves deep into King Leopold's, and Belgium's, reign of terror and desolation in the Congo. He argues, extremely convincingly, that this was one of the worst massacres not just of the 20th century, but in human history. Starting with Leopold's insatiable thirst for ivory, then even more so for rubber craved by the burgeoning automobile industry.We look at the history of European colonialism in Afric [...]

    26. I know it's considered cliché to compare anyone to Hitler, and state emphatically that the only person worse than Hitler iswell, Hitler, but I'm going out on a limb here to say that, after reading Hochschild's recounting of the rapacious birth and bloody 23-year life of the Congo Free State, I think King Leopold II of Belgium was indeed worse (in his own way) than Hitler.Fuck this guy. Srsly.There is something about Leopold's motives which makes Hitler's seem.well, I don't even know what word I [...]

    27. A very disturbing book that puts light on colonialism. Hochschild writers very well; at no point is the book boring nor does it read like a list. Hochschild is also even headed. He doesn't whitewash - good guys have flaws, and he mentions them. Hochschild does make the reader think about how the West sees Africa not only during the colonial period but even today. It is a book everyone in Europe and the United States should read. What I really enjoyed was the fact that Hochschild doesn't just foc [...]

    28. The story of the Congo told here is one of megalomania and greed beyond imagining. Leopold II of Belgium was obsessed with having a colony, somewhere he could rule unimpeded by constitutional restraints and where he could amass great personal wealth. Using the explorer/journalist Stanley of "Stanley and Livingston", he managed to eventually secure for himself the landmass of the Congo. He and his publicists masterfully made it appear as if he were "saving" the inhabitants from the slave trade an [...]

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