Adam Hochschild

Adam Hochschild

Author profile

in New York City, The United States
January 01, 1942



About this author

Hochschild was born in New York City. As a college student, he spent a summer working on an anti-government newspaper in South Africa and subsequently worked briefly as a civil rights worker in Mississippi in 1964. Both were politically pivotal experiences about which he would later write in his book Finding the Trapdoor. He later was part of the movement against the Vietnam War, and, after several years as a daily newspaper reporter, worked as a writer and editor for the leftwing Ramparts magazine. In the mid-1970s, he was one of the co-founders of Mother Jones.

Hochschild's first book was a memoir, Half the Way Home: a Memoir of Father and Son (1986), in which he described the difficult relationship he had with his father. His later books

Adam Hochschild isn't a Goodreads Author (yet), but he does have a blog, so here are some recent posts imported from his feed.

What Gingrich Didn't Learn in Congo
New York Times
NEWT GINGRICH seldom misses a chance to note that he is a historian. He lards his speeches with references to obscure events in the American past, talks about his time teaching at West Georgia College (not one of those effete Ivies), ...

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Published on December 04, 2011 18:14 • 516 views
Average rating: 4.14 · 21,302 ratings · 1,951 reviews · 13 distinct works · Similar authors
King Leopold's Ghost: A Sto...
4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 15,575 ratings — published 1998 — 29 editions
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To End All Wars: A Story of...
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 3,806 ratings — published 2011 — 18 editions
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Bury the Chains: Prophets a...
4.21 of 5 stars 4.21 avg rating — 841 ratings — published 2005 — 14 editions
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The Unquiet Ghost: Russians...
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 327 ratings — published 1994 — 6 editions
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Half the Way Home: A Memoir...
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 81 ratings — published 1986 — 8 editions
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The Mirror at Midnight: A S...
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 77 ratings — published 1990 — 7 editions
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Finding the Trapdoor: Essay...
4.4 of 5 stars 4.40 avg rating — 10 ratings — published 1997 — 2 editions
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Infra: Photographs by Richa...
4.67 of 5 stars 4.67 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2012
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Anabel y el monstruo del la...
5.0 of 5 stars 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2011
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The Great War: July 1, 1916...
4.35 of 5 stars 4.35 avg rating — 255 ratings — published 2013 — 4 editions
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“Most striking about the traditional societies of the Congo was their remarkable artwork: baskets, mats, pottery, copper and ironwork, and, above all, woodcarving. It would be two decades before Europeans really noticed this art. Its discovery then had a strong influence on Braque, Matisse, and Picasso -- who subsequently kept African art objects in his studio until his death. Cubism was new only for Europeans, for it was partly inspired by specific pieces of African art, some of them from the Pende and Songye peoples, who live in the basin of the Kasai River, one of the Congo's major tributaries.

It was easy to see the distinctive brilliance that so entranced Picasso and his colleagues at their first encounter with this art at an exhibit in Paris in 1907. In these central African sculptures some body parts are exaggerated, some shrunken; eyes project, cheeks sink, mouths disappear, torsos become elongated; eye sockets expand to cover almost the entire face; the human face and figure are broken apart and formed again in new ways and proportions that had previously lain beyond sight of traditional European realism.

The art sprang from cultures that had, among other things, a looser sense than Islam or Christianity of the boundaries between our world and the next, as well as those between the world of humans and the world of beasts. Among the Bolia people of the Congo, for example, a king was chosen by a council of elders; by ancestors, who appeared to him in a dream; and finally by wild animals, who signaled their assent by roaring during a night when the royal candidate was left at a particular spot in the rain forest. Perhaps it was the fluidity of these boundaries that granted central Africa's artists a freedom those in Europe had not yet discovered. ”
Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa

“When Leopold wrote that the precise frontiers of the new state or states would be defined later, [German Chancellor] Bismarck said to an aide, "His Majesty displays the pretensions and naive selfishness of an Italian who considers that his charm and good looks will enable him to get away with anything.”
Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa

“Those who are conquered," wrote the philosopher Ibn Khaldun in the fourteenth century, "always want to imitate the conqueror in his main characteristics—in his clothing, his crafts, and in all his distinctive traits and customs.”
Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror & Heroism in Colonial Africa



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