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With an introduction by award-winning novelist Barbara Kingsolver In the late nineteenth century, when the great powers in Europe were tearing Africa apart and seizing ownership of land for themselves, King Leopold of Belgium took hold of the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. In his devastatingly barbarous colonization of this area, Leopold stole its rubber and ivory, pummelled its people and set up a ruthless regime that would reduce the population by half. . While he did all this, he carefully constructed an image of himself as a deeply feeling humanitarian. Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize in 1999, King Leopold’s Ghost is the true and haunting account of this man’s brutal regime and its lasting effect on a ruined nation. It is also the inspiring and deeply moving account of a handful of missionaries and other idealists who travelled to Africa and unwittingly found themselves in the middle of a gruesome holocaust. Instead of turning away, these brave few chose to stand up against Leopold. Adam Hochschild brings life to this largely untold story and, crucially, casts blame on those responsible for this atrocity.
"An enthralling story . . . A work of history that reads like a novel." — Christian Science Monitor “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
This book explains how and why Belgium, a small but influential European country, was changed through its colonial activities in the Congo, from the first expeditions in 1880 to the Mobutu regime in the 1980s. Belgian politics, diplomacy, economic activity and culture were influenced by the imperial experience. Belgium and the Congo, 1885-1980 yields a better understanding of the Congo's past and present.
Dear, dear, when the soft-hearts get hold of thing like that missionary's contribution they completely lose their tranquility they speak profanely and reproach Heaven for allowing such a find to live. Meaning me . They think it irregular. They go shuddering around, brooding over the reduction of that Congo population from 25,000,000 to 15,000,000 in the twenty years of my administration; then they burst out and call me the King with Ten Million Murders on his Soul. They call me a 'record'. - From King Leopold's Soliloquy
This is the story of a handful of men, led by Thomas Clarkson, who defied the slave trade and ignited the first great human rights movement. Beginning in 1788, a group of Abolitionists moved the cause of anti-slavery from the floor of Parliament to the homes of 300,000 people boycotting Caribbean sugar, and gave a platform to freed slaves.
Thought-provoking reflection on culture, colonialism, and the remainders of empire in Belgium after 1960 The degree to which the late colonial era affected Europe has been long underappreciated, and only recently have European countries started to acknowledge not having come to terms with decolonisation. In Belgium, the past two decades have witnessed a growing awareness of the controversial episodes in the country’s colonial past. This volume examines the long-term effects and legacies of the colonial era on Belgium after 1960, the year the Congo gained its independence, and calls into question memories of the colonial past by focusing on the meaning and place of colonial monuments in public space. The book foregrounds the enduring presence of “empire” in everyday Belgian life in the form of permanent colonial markers in bronze and stone, lieux de mémoire of the country’s history of overseas expansion. By means of photographs and explanations of major pro-colonial memorials, as well as several obscure ones, the book reveals the surprising degree to which Belgium became infused with a colonialist spirit during the colonial era. Another key component of the analysis is an account of the varied ways in which both Dutch- and French-speaking Belgians approached the colonial past after 1960, treating memorials variously as objects of veneration, with indifference, or as symbols to be attacked or torn down. The book provides a thought-provoking reflection on culture, colonialism, and the remainders of empire in Belgium after 1960.
A "tremendous," "intrepid" history of the devastating war in the heart of Africa's Congo, with first-hand accounts of the continent's worst conflict in modern times. At the heart of Africa is the Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, bordering nine other nations, that since 1996 has been wracked by a brutal war in which millions have died. In Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, renowned political activist and researcher Jason K. Stearns has written a compelling and deeply-reported narrative of how Congo became a failed state that collapsed into a war of retaliatory massacres. Stearns brilliantly describes the key perpetrators, many of whom he met personally, and highlights the nature of the political system that brought these people to power, as well as the moral decisions with which the war confronted them. Now updated with a new introduction, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters tells the full story of Africa's Great War.
Reproduction of the original: The Casement Report by Roger Casement
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. A sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War, told through a dozen characters, including Hemingway and George Orwell: A tale of idealism, heartbreaking suffering, and a noble cause that failed. 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. “With all due respect to Orwell, Spain in Our Hearts should supplant Homage to Catalonia as the best introduction to the conflict written in English. A humane and moving book."—New Republic “Excellent and involving . . . What makes [Hochschild’s] book so intimate and moving is its human scale.” — Dwight Garner, New York Times
A prizewinning historian's epic account of the scramble to control equatorial Africa In just three decades at the end of the nineteenth century, the heart of Africa was utterly transformed. Virtually closed to outsiders for centuries, by the early 1900s the rainforest of the Congo River basin was one of the most brutally exploited places on earth. In Land of Tears, historian Robert Harms reconstructs the chaotic process by which this happened. Beginning in the 1870s, traders, explorers, and empire builders from Arabia, Europe, and America moved rapidly into the region, where they pioneered a deadly trade in ivory and rubber for Western markets and in enslaved labor for the Indian Ocean rim. Imperial conquest followed close behind. Ranging from remote African villages to European diplomatic meetings to Connecticut piano-key factories, Land of Tears reveals how equatorial Africa became fully, fatefully, and tragically enmeshed within our global world.