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King Leopold's Ghost
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa | Adam Hochschild
13 posts | 34 read | 21 to read
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 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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Skyler
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My current read nicely aligns with my Halloween costume today...IMPERIALISM!

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ElectricKatyLand
Pickpick

I didn't know much at all about the Belgian Congo, and this book filled that gap. King Leopold of Belgian set up a private colony in the Congo for himself (not even for his country) and extracted rubber and millions of millions of $$$ while systematically destroying lives, cultures, and futures of the people who lived there. Horrific and under-publicized.

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Plaidsticks
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Mehso-so

My biggest complaint was the lack of black voices in all of this. It might be due to the historical record, but the whole book was from a European perspective instead of Congolese who were tortured and exterminated. #audiobook

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alisonrose
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BOOK: King Leopold‘s Ghost by Adam Hochschild
AUTHOR: Barbara Kingsolver
MOVIE: Kissing Jessica Stein
FOOD: 🥝🥝🥝
#manicmonday #letterk

JoScho Thanks for playing 💛 1y
alisonrose @JoScho 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻 1y
46 likes2 comments
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heater3721
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Mehso-so

Reading books on historical events is not something that I am normally drawn to. That being said, the subject of this book sounded interesting, and thought I would try it. This book covers the raiding of the Congo in the 1800s. All this was done for both glory and profit by white men, led by King Leopold of Belgium. Hochschild does a good job in this book of telling the history in the form of a story, rather than just a list of dry facts.

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8leagueboot
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I just finished Nisi Shawl's "Everfair", which takes place in a steampunk AU of the conflict in the Congo, and she praised this book highly in the author's acknowledgement. I know very little about the Belgian atrocities in the Congo, no more than anyone who read Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" in high school, but that little bit of background is preparing me for some very heavy history.

Oblomov26 Great book about some largely forgotten history 3y
26 likes1 stack add1 comment
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8leagueboot
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I'm not allowed to maintain a TBR stack. #outofcontrol

JanJan If you haven't read Zadie Smith you should bump that up to the top! She is amazing. 3y
WordWaller I feel this. I turned an entire shelf into my TBR stack 😬 3y
32 likes2 comments
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alisahar
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#Royals. This is a book about King Leopold II of Belgium and how his greed created genocidal misery in the Congo. A difficult read but anything Adam Hochschild writes is worth reading. @RealLifeReading

Hobbinol Wow! Fascinating! Joseph Conrad too! 3y
8leagueboot I'm pairing this one with Nisi Shawl's fictional Everfair right now, which is a steampunk take on what COULD have happened in the Congo. The true history is so painful that I can see the goodness in using fantasy to imagine a better outcome. 3y
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jdtchicago

Monsters exist,” wrote Primo Levi of his experience at Auschwitz. “But they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are . . . the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.

Kimzey This book was an important, eye-opener for me several years ago. I don't know how the magnitude of the atrocities in the Congo had escaped my awareness before. Thanks for highlighting this book on Litsy. 3y
jdtchicago 👍👍 3y
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Jewelsy
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Pickpick

This book is amazing. A really fascinating portrait of turn of tech century Congo. Spiller Alert: all that gruesome stuff in Heart of Darkness? It's all true.

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CherylDeFranceschi
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When you interview for a job at bookstore, you know it's gonna get expensive. Fingers crossed, Littens!The BF's favorite book, autographed. He'll be so happy!

SharonGoforth Good luck 😊 3y
Mayread Sending you good vibes across the airwaves. 🍀⚡️🍀 3y
LauraBeth Good luck 😀 3y
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Cinfhen Hope it goes your way😀 3y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled All the best luck ever ❤️!! 3y
BookishFeminist Fingers crossed for you! 3y
LeahBergen Oooo!! Good luck!! 3y
Broke_Girl_Reads Sending you all the luck! You're living every Littens' dream! 3y
Bibliogeekery Dream job!! Good luck! 3y
Dragon Fingers crossed for you, good luck 3y
Shemac77 Fingers crossed! 3y
Bette Good luck! I'd be like....oh! You're paying me too?👍😀 3y
quirkyreader Good luck. 🐸🐙 3y
DebinHawaii Good luck and positive vibes! 👍 3y
74 likes2 stack adds15 comments
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Oblomov26
Pickpick

Have you read Heart of Darkness and wondered about the truth of the story? This book tells the that story. King Leopold of Belgium wished to be a player in European politics and in the 19th century this required an empire. Leopold found his empire in the Congo under the cover of charity and good

Oblomov26 Intentions. The actual purpose of his endeavors was exploitation of the local population to produce rubber. A story of horrible injustice and maladministration as young officers are appointed to remote factories with a quota to maintain without control or overview. A fantastic book. 3y
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Chrisalynn
Pickpick

This is about the abuse of the native people of the Congo in order to profit from the rubber trees. It's very informative.

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