King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 3rd 1999
Genres: Africa, General, History
Buy on Amazon US | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Buy on Amazon UK
This book left me seething with anger. Not at the author – this is a historical biographer at the top of his game – but at his subject. I came to this book knowing very little about the colonisation of Congo, other than it was a dark stain on the history of Belgium (a stain that, having lived in this country for 30 years, is kept pretty well covered up). Nor did I know much about King Leopold of Belgium, but by the time I put the book down I was absolutely astonished and angry that such atrocities could have happened and been permitted.
This is a no-holds-barred account of the greed and manipulation of one man and how he was personally responsible for the deaths of millions of Congolese. But it’s no heavy academic tome. Hochschild’s journalistic skills and light touch mean that it reads like a work of fiction. In this way he has made a very difficult and heart-wrenching story greatly accessible, and rightly so. It’s a story that needs to be shouted from the rooftops,