Modern World History
Book Review: King Leopold’s Ghost
Adam Hochschild is the author of many acclaimed books, such as Half the Way Home and The Unquiet Ghost. He teaches writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkley. Being a journalist, his style of writing makes the book very readable and accessible. He writes with a bias against King Leopold. Playing an active role in the civil rights movement and being a strong anti-Vietnam War activist, he has a history of being against civil injustice. Throughout the story, Hochschild is able to convey history exceptionally accurate manner.
What some have considered to be the first international scandal of the modern era took place in the Congo from 1890 until 1910. King Leopold II of Belgium was at the head of this so called scandal. Western nations are notorious for using military and political strength to take advantage of other nations. Although the main reasons for gaining the land are for economy boosts and free trade, many countries abused their powers. They cheat the natives with one sided treaties or order them around, most of the time turning them into slaves. King Leopold II was probably the first one to abuse this power. Although Europe and the rest of the world seemed to have forgotten the victims of these crimes, there is a considerable amount of material to use when attempting to recreate the horror that took place in Leopold's Congo. This is exactly what Adam Hochschild is attempting to do by writing this book. By using the written words of mostly Europeans and Americans, which creates a distorted view of history, he wants to show that the Holocaust type event that took place in the Congo is something that should never be forgotten in our history. Hochschild also wants to show the heroism that took place afterwards in what became one of the first human rights movements of our time.
Hochschild does an excellent...