It is among the tope 3 books I have ever heard.
A good history book
no and I actually didn't like his voice at the beginning but he grw on me.
This book made me sick to my stomach as I learned of all the injusticies and atrocities committed by King Leopold.
Before I heard this book, I had such an incomplete history/view of what happened in the congo. Yes, I read heart of darkness and knew that there was truth to that but my goodness, this book got me fired up and angry that more people don't know about the infamous King Leopold.
This is such an epic story of greed, pure evil, lies, but also nobility, truth and heroism -- it's hard to believe that the entire thing is true.
On the one hand, there is the pure embodiment of lust, greed and sheer evil genius, King Leopold. If Leopold didn't exist, you'd almost have to invent him just to personify all the bad intentions and misdeeds that created the Congo Free State. But that's what's so amazing about this book -- people like Leopold actual existed and did the things that are described here. I always have trouble imagining a person of pure, unadulterated evil, just sheer badness with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The shorthand view for this person is always Hitler, but I think the cool thing about this book is bringing one to the realization that there are other Hitlers who existed in their own periods of time. Leopold did not have the military might of a Germany at his disposal, but he used every tool at his disposal to build a concentration camp for the people of the Congo -- not for racial cleansing or any high ideals like that, but just to line his own pockets. Wow.
And at the same time, there's the heros of this book -- none of whom have any of the money or power or connections of Leopold, but they use the one thing at their disposal eventually to bring him down. The truth. This part of the book actually made me wish for a time like the early 20th century, when we still had the capacity to be shocked by the sorts of abuses then happening in Leopold's Congo.
Anyway, do not miss this book. It is an awesome story that is all but forgotten in today's history overviews. I would give this book six stars if I could.
This is a fascinating book about the mind of a European monarch who supported one of the cruelest colonizations in history. The absolute brutalization of the Congo has been hidden from most of us. Who studies Belgian history in the US?If you want to begin to understand modern African politics, you have to read this book. Well worth listening to.
One of the best I've listened to this year. Hochschild filled in gaps in my knowledge of Colonial Africa and particularly the history of the exploitation of the Congo and its people.
The several historians, Black and White, who once they knew of the ostrocities, took great risks to get the truth before the world.
The several depictions of the cruelty to the Congo people and how they were forced to work the rubber.
King Leopold's Ghosts works
Anyone who has an interest in understanding how the Congo was colonized, how the authentic history was withheld, and why the region remains exploited and troubled will find this a great read. It is a shame-filled story.
the current one is always the best, but this really is. it is unbelievable, and it was right there under our noses. The period (end of 19th) is fascinating and this was a story I didn't know. Colonialism, Capitalism, Racism, reform-abolition-evangelism in a baroque train wreck.
Heart of Darkness touches the same story and draws the same horror. It also fits in with audible books about US civil war politics (team of Rivals, Catton, Shelby, 1861) and with end of Brit. empire (Gandhi and Churchill, Jan Morris) I'm also interested in the connection with the abortive Mexican Empire of Carlota and Maximilian.
Love to hate? Leopold, the soldiers, Stanley. Then there's Shepherd and Morrison on the good side. Courage!
I had to take some sleep breaks, but yes.
This book told the important story of the rape of the Congo. It's as important to understanding man's inhumanity to man, as the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, or the Japanese Rape of Nanking. I'm embarrassed that I did not know this story before now.
The story is well told. The book gives necessary background, and develops the characters interestingly. It tells you not only what the characters did (such as King Leopold, or Sir Henry M. Stanley (Stanley & Livingston) but who they were, how they became who they were, and where they fit into the scheme of events. It also introduces admirable characters who I had not heard of before, such as George Washington Williams, and William Henry Sheppard, both of whom were essential in getting out the story of Leopold's abuses.
It was also amazing how modern the story was, with Leopold's, and Stanley's, self promotion, manipulation - almost Orwellian - of the English language to serve their needs. The same practices are still alive and well in modern politics, corporate promotions, and special interest promotions.
This is one of the top-rank audiobooks I have listened to.
In terms of telling a necessary story, The Slave Ship. The difference is, the rape of the Congo occurred later than most other slavery, and the enslaved remained in Africa
This book made me think, a lot. Humanity's inhumanity to humanity is hard no matter who is doing what to whom. It was also inspirational to read the stories of those who thought for themselves, and resisted and acted against Leopold's abuses.
Yes, absolutely! This is one of the best books ever written. The narrative is crisp, clean and informative. I could listen or read this book over and over again.. and still learn new things (I've read and listened to this book).
Well, there are other excellent historical narratives out there, one that comes to mind is "Is Paris Burning?", which details the Nazi escape from Paris and Hitler's insistence that Paris burn to the ground, and a little known General disobeying orders. Why I compare it, is that the narrative is crisp, clean and very informative. However, King Leopold's Ghost is in a class unto itself, it's on my top 3 list.
Good, annoying at first, but I warmed up to it...
Yes and No, I certainly enjoyed getting into my car for 7 straight days of one hour commutes and getting through the entire book.
I'm listening to his new book, "To End all Wars.." Hopefully it will be as good as King Leopold's Ghost. I like Hochschild's writing and so far it's been an excellent listen.
This is a good popular history of a period of colonial exploitation of the Congo region in Africa by Belgium during the turn of the century. It is told primarily from the European perspective (of which more documentation is available), but the author does address the scarcity of African voices in describing the events and tries to show that this too, is part of the tragic loss suffered by the native residents of the Congo.
This is not an exhaustive history of the Congo or European Imperialism in Africa, so it does work in an audio format, without too much detail to keep track of. Geoffrey Howard's narration is strong and well-paced. The book outlines the period of 19th century exploration of Africa with the aim of clearing up geographical questions and "filling in" the known map of sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on the role played by Henry Morton Stanley. It discusses Leopold II, the Belgian King's obsession with claiming a colony for his small European country and the subterfuge he had to use to acquire it without alarming or antagonizing the major colonial powers of the time, Britain and France.
King Leopold's administration in Africa used brutal methods to coerce the native Congolese to labor in stripping the region of it's most economically valuable resources, especially rubber and ivory. Murder and mutilation of the forced laborers were routine. Most Europeans and Americans, to the extent that very many were interested in what happened in distant Africa were deceived by Leopold's propaganda about his "benevolent" regime. But a British former employee of a concession company which handled import traffic from the Congo to Europe, E.D. Morel, was one of a few individuals who realized the terror that went into their collection and campaigned to get it stopped. Morel organized an international campaign to make the European and American public aware of the cruelties occurring in the Congo. The author writes how these efforts were extremely impressive for their time, but it is debatable how much good they ultimately accomplished. Colonial exploitation of Africa would continue for decades. And Belgium has never acknowledged their role in what happened, not least because most of the country's official records of the time were deliberately destroyed, leaving a scanty historical record.
I have been listening to books on tape for over 20 years. Starting with audio tapes, then CD's and now downloads.
This is a great book for a serious student in either history or the way that power corrupts Morals and character.
It is a bit dry but it is very interesting. To know that one person with some power and lots of cunning can enslave such a large part of the world and do whatever he chose to with the people of the area is really amazing. How the rest of the world did nothing while this large country was enslaved, killed and mutilated is really hard to believe.
The performance was very good. The material got a bit long and drawn out.
It would be a good movie but woudl need some Hollywood to take the depression out of it
I must believe that the ability to own and enslave a large part of the world, not just Belgium but France and England must be due to the racism of the time. Do not believe the world would have sat quiet if the people being enslaved were while
Educational, Engrossing, Captivating
It is well read.
Well there is alot to it so you wouldnt take it all in, so no. But I loved it. I kept thinking about it and looking forward to listening again.
I really recommend this book