Cody VC's Reviews > King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror & Heroism in Colonial Africa

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
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Aug 26, 12

Recommended to Cody by: Prof. Schulze (way back in 2009 from hist 101)
Read in August, 2012 — I own a copy

2.5. One star docked for a profoundly weird approach to documenting sources - why would you want to make it seem like none of your quotes/facts are cited?! what the hell - and the second's docked for padding out the narrative with weird psychoanalytical digressions and titillating unnecessary details about various European principals. In the face of lack of evidence due to destruction thereof or a deliberate lack of record-keeping, just tighten up the writing so the focus is more evenly balanced between the white people and the black people - Hochschild apologizes for as much in the preface, but it could have been corrected at least somewhat even before publication. Jesus christ. And other reviewers here have touched on how he raises questions towards the end but doesn't really explore them, even though he's perfectly capable of doing so. (Am I ever going to find a "pop history" book that's satisfactory?)

All that aside, this book does a decent job of making the key connections clear and guiding the reader through the cumulative events that turn into History, and that's important for this sort of historical narrative. It could be worse (looking at you, devil in the white city).
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