Adam Hochschild


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

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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
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Published on November 03, 2017 00:48
Average rating: 4.16 · 47,454 ratings · 3,742 reviews · 28 distinct worksSimilar authors
King Leopold's Ghost

4.16 avg rating — 34,179 ratings — published 1998
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To End All Wars: A Story of...

4.15 avg rating — 7,060 ratings — published 2011 — 24 editions
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Spain in Our Hearts: Americ...

4.21 avg rating — 1,922 ratings — published 2016 — 17 editions
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Bury the Chains

4.27 avg rating — 1,479 ratings — published 2005 — 22 editions
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The Unquiet Ghost: Russians...

4.17 avg rating — 576 ratings — published 1994 — 7 editions
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Half the Way Home: A Memoir...

4.03 avg rating — 148 ratings — published 1986 — 9 editions
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The Mirror at Midnight: A S...

3.94 avg rating — 159 ratings — published 1990 — 9 editions
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Lessons from a Dark Time an...

3.92 avg rating — 25 ratings3 editions
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Finding the Trapdoor: Essay...

4.27 avg rating — 22 ratings — published 1997 — 4 editions
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Anabel y el monstruo del la...

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4.25 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 2011
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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

“As the years passed, new myths arose to explain the mysterious objects the strangers brought from the land of the dead. A nineteenth-century missionary recorded, for example, an African explanation of what happened when captains descended into the holds of their ships to fetch trading goods like cloth. The Africans believed that these goods came not from the ship itself but from a hole that led into the ocean. Sea sprites weave this cloth in an "oceanic factory, and, whenever we need cloth, the captain ... goes to this hole and rings a bell." The sea sprites hand him up their cloth, and the captain "then throws in, as payment, a few dead bodies of black people he has bought from those bad native traders who have bewitched their people and sold them to the white men." The myth was not so far from reality. For what was slavery in the American South, after all, but a system for transforming the labor of black bodies, via cotton plantations, into cloth?”
Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost

“And yet the world we live in—its divisions and conflicts, its widening gap between rich and poor, its seemingly inexplicable outbursts of violence—is shaped far less by what we celebrate and mythologize than by the painful events we try to forget. Leopold's Congo is but one of those silences of history.”
Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost

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