David Nadolny's Reviews > King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
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's review
Apr 17, 2012

it was amazing
Read in April, 2012

Most of my friends know I write short Edwardian investigative horror short adventures. Some of them have had some pretty creepy story lines if I do say so myself. However, as is often said, truth is stranger than fiction and in this case, history is much more horrific than anything I could ever write.

The level crimes against humanity committed by the Congo regime under Leopold's rule from the 1890s to early 1900s is matched only by the similar levels in neighboring colonies at the same time where the hue and cry of against the injustice was not raised. Where the horrors in Leopold's colony were outed, raged against and a solution fought for, those of German East Africa against the Herrero tribe and others, The English against the Boers and others and the French in West Africa all had similar death tolls as a percentage of population. For various reason, those nations did not receive the attention The Congo did. This may be because the Belgian leader was an easier target than the super nations who had colonized the rest of Africa, or maybe because the Congo was so immensely large in comparison that her death toll was equally larger.

Without going into too much graphic detail, the author has described the terrible oppression that occurred under Leopold's rule. At one point, I almost cried after reading what was done to some children.

But it is good to understand the history of man, even the bad parts. As someone wrote outside the gates of Auschwitz, "those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it." (I think that is a Satayana quote).

Thank you to my fraternity brother, JJ, for loaning me the book.

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