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About Adam Hochschild
Hochschild's "To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918" was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction and won the 2012 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction. Both it and his 2016 "Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939," were New York Times bestsellers. His "Lessons From a Dark Time," was published in 2018. "This collection of two dozen previously published essays was explicitly constructed as a response to the presidency of Donald Trump," wrote Kirkus Reviews. ". . . . Hochschild's graceful, informative, straightforward writing always finds the telling detail as well as the people of courage in the most horrifying of situations." Hochschild's latest book, "Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes," appeared in 2020. "Hochschild is a superb writer who makes light work of heavy subjects," wrote Jennifer Szalai in reviewing the book for The New York Times.
The American Historical Association gave Hochschild its 2008 Theodore Roosevelt-Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, a prize given each year to someone outside the academy who has made a significant contribution to the study of history.
"Throughout his writings over the last decades," the Association's citation said, "Adam Hochschild has focused on topics of important moral and political urgency, with a special emphasis on social and political injustices and those who confronted and struggled against them, as in the case of Britain's 18th-century abolitionists in 'Bury the Chains'; 'The Mirror at Midnight', a study of the struggle between the Boers and Zulus for control over South Africa in the 19th-century Battle of Blood River and its contentious commemoration by rival groups 150 years later; the complex confrontation of Russians with the ghost of Stalinist past in 'The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin'; and the cruelties enacted during the course of Western colonial expansion and domination, notably in his widely acclaimed 'King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa', among his many other publications. All his books combine dramatic narratives and meticulous research. . . .
" 'King Leopold's Ghost' had an extraordinary impact, attracting readers the world over, altering the teaching and writing of history and affecting politics and culture at national and international levels. Published in English and translated into 11 additional languages, the book has been incorporated into secondary school curricula and appears as a key text in the historiography of colonial Africa for college and graduate students. But it is within Belgium that Hochschild's work has had the most dramatic impact, demonstrating the active and transformative power of history. The publication of 'King Leopold's Ghost' forced Belgians to come to terms for the first time with their long buried colonial past and generated intense public debate that so troubled Belgian officials that they reportedly instructed diplomats on how to deflect embarrassing questions that the book raised about the past. The book offered welcome support for others in Belgium who sought acknowledgment and accountability for Belgian actions in the Congo. . . . Few works of history have the power to effect such significant change in people's understanding of their past."
Hochschild teaches narrative writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. He and his wife, sociologist and author Arlie Russell Hochschild, have two sons and two granddaughters.
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“As Hochschild’s brilliant book demonstrates, the great Congo scandal prefigured our own times . . . This book must be read and reread.” — Los Angeles Times Book Review
In the late nineteenth century, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium carried out a brutal plundering of the territory surrounding the Congo River. Ultimately slashing the area’s population by ten million, he still managed to shrewdly cultivate his reputation as a great humanitarian. A tale far richer than any novelist could invent, King Leopold’s Ghost is the horrifying account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who defied Leopold: African rebel leaders who fought against hopeless odds and a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure but unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust and participants in the twentieth century’s first great human rights movement.
A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
A New York Times Notable Book
From the author of King Leopold’s Ghost, a narrative history of the social justice campaign formed in the fight to free the slaves of the British Empire.
In early 1787, twelve men—a printer, a lawyer, a clergyman, and others united by their hatred of slavery—came together in a London printing shop and began the world's first grass-roots movement, battling for the rights of people on another continent. Masterfully stoking public opinion, the movement's leaders pioneered a variety of techniques that have been adopted by citizens' movements ever since, from consumer boycotts to wall posters and lapel buttons to celebrity endorsements. A deft chronicle of this groundbreaking antislavery crusade and its powerful enemies, Bury the Chains gives a little-celebrated human rights watershed its due.
A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
A Book Sense Selection
“By far the most readable and rounded account we have of British antislavery, a campaign that, as the author rightly claims, helped to change the world and can be seen as a prototype of the modern social justice movement.”—Robin Blackburn, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A thrilling, substantive, and oftentimes raw work of narrative history. In its own fashion, it furthers the abolitionists’ crucial work of lifting our moral blindness.”—Maureen Corrigan, National Public Radio’s Fresh Air
Rose Pastor arrived in New York City in 1903, a Jewish refugee from Russia who had worked in cigar factories since the age of eleven. Two years later, she captured headlines across the globe when she married James Graham Phelps Stokes, scion of one of the legendary 400 families of New York high society. Together, this unusual couple joined the burgeoning Socialist Party and, over the next dozen years, moved among the liveliest group of activists and dreamers this country has ever seen. Their friends and houseguests included Emma Goldman, Big Bill Haywood, Eugene V. Debs, John Reed, Margaret Sanger, Jack London, and W.E.B. Du Bois. Rose stirred audiences to tears and led strikes of restaurant waiters and garment workers. She campaigned alongside the country’s earliest feminists to publicly defy laws against distributing information about birth control, earning her notoriety as “one of the dangerous influences of the country” from President Woodrow Wilson. But in a way no one foresaw, her too-short life would end in the same abject poverty with which it began.
By a master of narrative nonfiction, Rebel Cinderella unearths the rich, overlooked life of a social justice campaigner who was truly ahead of her time.
For three crucial years in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world, as volunteers flooded to Spain to help its democratic government fight off a fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini. Today we're accustomed to remembering the war through Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Robert Capa’s photographs. But Adam Hochschild has discovered some less familiar yet far more compelling characters who reveal the full tragedy and importance of the war: a fiery nineteen-year-old Kentucky woman who went to wartime Spain on her honeymoon, a Swarthmore College senior who was the first American casualty in the battle for Madrid, a pair of fiercely partisan, rivalrous New York Times reporters who covered the war from opposites sides, and a swashbuckling Texas oilman with Nazi sympathies who sold Franco almost all his oil — at reduced prices, and on credit.
It was in many ways the opening battle of World War II, and we still have much to learn from it. Spain in Our Hearts is Adam Hochschild at his very best.
National Book Award finalist Adam Hochschild brings a lifetime’s familiarity with South Africa to bear in this eye-opening examination of a critical turning point in that nation’s history: the Great Trek of 1836–39, during which Dutch-speaking white settlers, known as Boers, journeyed deep into the country’s interior to escape the British colonial administration.
The mass migration culminated with the massacre of indigenous Zulus in the 1838 Battle of Blood River. Looking at the tensions of modern South Africa through the dramatic prism of the nineteenth century, Hochschild vividly recreates the battle—and its contentious commemoration by rival groups 150 years later. In his epilogue, Hochschild extends his view to the astonishing political changes that have occurred in the country in recent decades—and the changes yet to be made.
Hochschild’s incisive take on these events, noted Nadine Gordimer, “is far more than an outsider’s perception of the drama of our country. Read him, in particular, to understand the rise of white extremism which is threatening the democratic vision of the African National Congress and its allied progressive constituency among people of all colors.”
“A good book for anyone who wants a succinct and precise account of how this fascinating country has got where it is. . . . This is a book I recommend warmly.” —Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“One of the most illuminating books ever written on contemporary South Africa.” —Publishers Weekly
“Thoroughly researched, immensely readable . . . A work of vivid reportage and astute political analysis.” —San Francisco Chronicle
An in-depth exploration of the legacy of Joseph Stalin on the former Soviet Union, by the author of King Leopold’s Ghost.
Although some twenty million people died during Stalin’s reign of terror, only with the advent of glasnost did Russians begin to confront their memories of that time. In 1991, Adam Hochschild spent nearly six months in Russia talking to gulag survivors, retired concentration camp guards, and countless others. The result is a riveting evocation of a country still haunted by the ghost of Stalin.
A New York Times Notable Book
“An important contribution to our awareness of the former Soviet Union’s harrowing past and unsettling present.”—Los Angeles Times
“A perceptive, intelligent book demonstrating that the significance of the gulag transcends the confines of one country and one generation.”—New York Times Book Review
“This probing and sensitive book…casts striking new light upon the Russian past and present.”—Washington Post Book World
“The voices [Hochschild] has recorded, the relics he has seen, are haunting—and the raw material of a terrific book.”—David Remnick, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Lenin’s Tomb
“No other work has brought home the full horror of this monstrous dictator’s rule than this close-up account.”—Daniel Schorr, former senior news analyst, National Public Radio
Today, hundreds of military cemeteries spread across the fields of northern France and Belgium contain the bodies of millions of men who died in the “war to end all wars.” Can we ever avoid repeating history?
From the author of King Leopold’s Ghost, Half the Way Home is a compelling memoir about a complicated father-son relationship.
Adam Hochschild never used the words “Dad” or “Daddy,” just “Father.” The only son of Harold Hochschild—the head of a multinational mining corporation—Adam always felt as though his father remained purposefully at a distance—a demanding, immovable pillar to be respected and sometimes feared.
Here, in lyrical prose, Hochschild recounts his privileged upbringing at his family’s estate in the Adirondacks, his coming-of-age in the tumultuous 1960s, and his enduringly conflicted relationship with his father. But as a boy grows into a man, times change and perspectives shift, and a chance for reconciliation emerges from the space between.
Hailed by Studs Terkel as “an exquisite memoir of a boy growing up,” Half the Way Home is ultimately the story of a father and his son, and the unexpected peace finally made between them. “It is a primer on the upper class and on class itself, a series of meditations on the burden of wealth to the liberal consciousness and even a commentary on what it means to be a Jew in America. . . . This is a fine and moving book” (People).
With the skills of a journalist, the knowledge of a historian, and the heart of an activist, Hochschild shares the stories of people who took a stand against despotism, spoke out against unjust wars and government surveillance, and dared to dream of a better and more just world.