Other Sellers on Amazon
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa Paperback – October 1, 1999
Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip.
View high quality images that let you zoom in to take a closer look.
Enjoy features only possible in digital – start reading right away, carry your library with you, adjust the font, create shareable notes and highlights, and more.
Discover additional details about the events, people, and places in your book, with Wikipedia integration.
There is a newer edition of this item:
Enhance your purchase
Inspire a love of reading with Amazon Book Box for Kids
Discover delightful children's books with Amazon Book Box, a subscription that delivers new books every 1, 2, or 3 months — new Amazon Book Box Prime customers receive 15% off your first box. Learn more.
Frequently bought together
About the Author
ADAM HOCHSCHILD is the author of ten books. King Leopold’s Ghost was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as was To End All Wars. His Bury the Chains was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and PEN USA Literary Award. He lives in Berkeley, California.
- Publisher : Houghton Mifflin (October 1, 1999)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 366 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0618001905
- ISBN-13 : 978-0618001903
- Reading age : 14 years and up
- Item Weight : 1.08 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.08 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #9,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
I do not know if this is common practice with a Kindle version as i have only just got it!!
Actual content of book is very good though and well worth a read!
One of the darkest chapters in human history, 'King Leopold's Ghost recounts the egregious land-grab by King Leopold of Belgium towards the riches of the Congo. Having felt left out by the colonial profits of surrounding countries, Leopold formulated a plan to access one of the most inaccessible parts of Africa. Leopold's brand of colonialism was especially vicious though and some of the crimes are hard to read.
Importantly, I say 'human' instead of 'White', 'Black', 'Colonial' as one thing we learn is that no one race had patent rights on slavery, despite w might be taught today. The book highlights how the indigenous tribes had quite a fruitful line in slavery before explorers arrived; nowhere near as rapacious or structured, but just as nasty. One tribe mentioned used severed heads as a kind of currency - if you ran out of funds, simply lop a slave's head off.
Of course this fact shouldn't distract us to the fact that the main crimes were by Leopold and his forces. What is fascinating - and it almost seems to stick in Hochschild's craw - is that the many voices attacking the terror were from Christian missionaries. Modern revisionism would have that they were eagerly taking part in the activities, but until brave men like Morel and George Washington Williams came along, they were lone, unheard voices.
The epilogue is a reminder that two things do not change. Western involvement (interference) in Africa and, ultimately, the power of greed. One thing is touched on is that continuing to solely blame colonialism for current problems in countries like Congo is ridiculous but fashionable. The truth is, as stated by Solomon in Ecclesiastes (and not about one race or another) 'Man has dominated man to his harm.'
All in all, a sobering book that draws parallels between King Leopold's reign and the Holocaust in its viciousness.