An incredibly valuable and excellently done reading of the tragedies forced upon Central Africans at the hands of those more powerful. It is a prophetic story of greed and ruthlessness and clearly illustrates how absolute power corrupts absolutely !
Most importantly, this book gives us a warning by giving it's readers a revealing look how easy it is for unchecked human nature to destroy mankind.
Let us the world, learn from our past in this this horrific story! May the many heroes in the book (Morel, Shepard, Casement, Williams and others) always inspire us towards righteousness and standing up against up against injustices of our fellow man when we encounter them!
John O. Gernert
I like audiobooks.
King Leopold's Ghost tells the ghastly and horrific account of colonization throughout the Congo from Belgium during King Leopold II's reign. I was most shocked these events were kept secret for so long. Not to mention the level of devastation that was caused, millions and millions of deaths. Bravo to Hochschild for unearthing and telling such an important story.
Decent book, but the narration annoyed me the whole time. His voice is fine but his style is more suitable for a half-hour History Channel special on Jack the Ripper.
3.5-4 stars. The lesson from this tragedy that struck me most deeply is the power of telling a story. The fact that the winners get to write the stories, usually, and the importance of writing down history, of others reading it, and of us all remembering it. I'm grateful to the author for all the research he did, and to those who documented the atrocities.
It interests me to think, "Therefore, what?" What reaction does this provoke, what introspection, correction, or discovery does the knowledge prod out of me, the reader? When the book addressed those issues, I was much more engaged.
Though I didn't know the specifics before I read this account, I never felt shocked. I think I had always assumed that all the areas and peoples who were claimed and overrun by the various empires were treated in such a way (with varying degrees of brutality).
I wish a more personalized view and account of the people of the Congo was included, but that's kind of the point - we don't have much of that viewpoint because they were slaughtered, dehumanized, and silenced.
Historical content is beyond reproach. Very well writtened.
The narrator was very eloquent.
I enjoyed the book from the standpoint of learning about the Congo. Was horrified at learning of practice of slavery and other human rights violations.
Adam Hochschild's research and writing style are unparalleled on this topic. I have my history students read this text.
It's true and it offers us a lesson for the future.
It is well read. I like to listen to it in my car on my commute a few weeks before I grade student papers about it to just refresh my memory.
It didn't make me cry but it could have because the subject material is devastating.
I like how the story is presented in a linear fashion. It does not jump around much in the dates. This resulted in an easy to follow story.
From greed of one man to the slaughter of millions
This was a very informative book about the oppression of native people of Congo. Once one reads this book, one will understand the strife endured by the natives in the past which can be seen today as well. Today, it is easy to look at conflicts in developing and undeveloped countries and think, "Those people need to settle their differences". However, that is a naive thought. One must look at the people, the land, the culture, the resources, and most of all...the history. King Leopold's Ghost is not only about the brutal oppression of the Congolese population by a racist, dehumanizing Belgian monarchy; it is also about the ingrained racism and indifference society had toward other societies over 100 years ago. Almost every developed European country is implicated in this indifference. It must be acknowledged that the developed countries, in which we enjoy a comfortable lifestyle today, is built upon the labor, blood, and the cruelty endured by the weaker native populations. Every person who has the luxury to enjoy his/her comfortable lifestyle owes it to himself/herself to read this text.