Other Sellers on Amazon
+ S$1.99 delivery
+ FREE Delivery
+ S$6.50 delivery
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa Paperback – 7 March 2019
Enhance your purchase
Frequently bought together
A history like none other . . . an amazing book -- Tariq Ali ― Financial Times
About the Author
Adam Hochschild’s first book, Half the Way Home: a Memoir of Father and Son, was published in 1986. It was followed by The Mirror at Midnight: a Journey into the Heart of South Africa and The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin. His 1997 collection, Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels won the PEN/Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award for the Art of the Essay. King Leopold’s Ghost: a Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa won the Duff Cooper Prize in the UK, the Lionel Gelber Prize in Canada and was a finalist for the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award in the United States. Bury the Chains: the British Struggle to Abolish Slavery was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. To End All Wars: a Story of Protest and Patriotism in the First World War, was published by Macmillan in 2011. His books have been translated into twelve languages.
Hochschild teaches writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and has been a Fulbright Lecturer in India. He lives in Berkeley with his wife, the sociologist and author Arlie Hochschild. They have two sons and one grandchild.
No customer reviews
|5 star (0%)||0%|
|4 star (0%)||0%|
|3 star (0%)||0%|
|2 star (0%)||0%|
|1 star (0%)||0%|
Review this product
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The story is just incredible. Chronologically, Hochschild does a great job at tying together a complex story over decades and even centuries, beginning with tale of the European discovery of the Congo river and then honing in on Leopold's obsession with colonial expansion and the Congo specifically. He describes the casual brutality of Leopold's regime extremely effectively before skillfully introducing the figures in the movement that rose up to make the world aware of what was happening in Africa. Along the way, the author does a great job of putting the events into historical context and addressing likely counterarguments made be pro-Leopold sources (e.g. why there was outrage about the Congo specifically despite equally brutal colonial regimes elsewhere in Africa, the pre-existence of continental African slavery, etc). Hochschild does a great job of developing characters and presents a mountain of irrefutable evidence to back up his main arguments, all of which is done in an extremely engaging manner. The author's epilogue, written 10 years after the initial publication, is also even handed and insightful.
If I have any complaint with the book, it's that the author sometimes makes leaps of judgement in the narrative that aren't necessary, especially when it comes to speculating whether certain characters in the story previously l crossed paths or allowed specific people/events to privately influence their decisions. The story is compelling enough without these speculations. He also (rightfully) demonizes Leopold and other figures in the regime, but spends less time characterizing anti-colonial figures whose backgrounds and personal lives are shady at best. While certain players are demonstrably more despicable than others, I felt that Hochschild could have been a little more even handed in describing the faults of his protagonists at times, if for nothing else than to appear more impartial as a narrator and derail his critics.
Overall, the book is outstanding and I would recommend it to anybody looking for a fast paced story, context about the European scramble for Africa, or insight as to how Africa developed through the 20th century.