Review of King Leopold's Ghost

Topics: Congo Free State, Leopold II of Belgium, King Leopold's Ghost Pages: 4 (1498 words) Published: April 18, 2011
Brandon Strader
AP World History
2nd period

Adam Hochschild’s popular novel, King Leopold’s Ghost, tells the story of the brutal dehumanization of the African people of the Congo all to fulfill the desire of wealth and power. Henry Morton Stanley, one of King Leopold of Belgium’s partners in crime, was distraught when England could not seem to care less about his discovery of the Congo in Africa. Leopold’s love for geography and the economy led him to dream of a bigger and better Belgium. Hochschild describes him as cunning like a fox and manipulative. (pg. 35) He was obsessed with the potential profits available through colonization. Together, these two personalities made for a major uproar in the African colonies. Some unavoidable factors such as language barriers and the friendly nature of the African people quickly caused the Congo to be under Leopold’s control. Leopold’s actions in the Congo led to the widespread colonization of Africa and the start of several abolitionist movements. The secret history of the Congo is brought into the open and displayed through greed, terror, and heroism. King Leopold II was born into a family of royalty and was certain of his future as the King of Belgium. As the eldest son, he was determined to expand Belgium to its greatest potential. His royal status and reign over Belgium would never be enough to satisfy him. When Leopold discovered that no colonies were available for purchase, he turned to colonizing land that had not been previously established. The joining of Leopold and Henry Morton Stanley would create a plan for successful domination over the Congo. Stanley’s ability to survive the rough terrain of the Congo and also to be the first to do so made him the perfect candidate to join Leopold in colonizing the land. To disguise his intentions for invading the newly discovered land, Leopold presented the ideas of bringing Christianity and abolishing the slave trade to many great European leaders. Leopold...
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