King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa
In 1897 or 1898, Edmund Dane Morel, a British shipping company agent working in Antwerp, noticed discrepancies in the cargoes of his company’s ships. They arrived from the Congo laden with ivory and rubber; when they returned they carried only soldiers and firearms. Realizing that only slave labour could account for this, he resigned from his company and began a one-man crusade against slave labour and started what was to become the first international human rights movement of the 20th century. Between 1880 and 1910 some ten million lives were lost in the Congo. Looming over all was Leopold II, King of the Belgians and sole owner of the only private colony in the world.
This award-winning account of the plunder of the Congo illuminates the charming, cruel personality that was King Leopold II. In contrast, the moving account of the individuals who fought against and suffered under the inhuman regime. Hochschild’s ability to recreate the atmosphere and bring to life the key players in one of the most shocking periods in modern history result in a truly remarkable book that reads more like a novel than an historical record.