A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa


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   Order Code: HOU420    ISBN : 9780618001903
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In "an enthralling story, full of fascinating characters, intense drama, high adventure, deceitful manipulation, courageous truth-telling, and splendid moral fervor" (Christian Science Monitor), author Adam Hochschild tells the story of King Leopold of Belgium, a megalomaniac ruler who 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 20th century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. 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. 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.

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Houghton Mifflin