Happyreader's Reviews > King Leopold's Ghost

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
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's review
Feb 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: history-politics

King Leopold would have made an excellent Halliburton CEO. If he were alive today, he would have been a constant presence on Fox News, extolling the benefits of torture and environmental devastation for national security and the greater good. This is essentially the story of a business brutally run amok, hiding behind the smokescreen of a constant positive PR barrage orchestrated by a corrupt king/business owner. As the author points out, even though Leopold’s administration likely led to the deaths of 10 million plus Africans over 20 some years of rubber plunder, the other African colonies were equally deadly and cruel. What set him apart was his active campaigning to acquire the Congo for humanitarian reasons while, in actuality, setting up the fiefdom for his own personal profit. When news of the multitude of severed hands reached the press, his minions claimed these were simply the hands of those suffering from hand cancer. Most tragic is that, despite the rise of a strong anti-cruelty movement (sadly, not a strong anti-colonial movement), not much changed and Africans and other groups under colonial rule continued to be tortured for outsiders to profit.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Florence (new)

Florence Wetzel Hi Happyreader: If you like Scandinavian mysteries, you might like The Leopard by Jo Nesbo, which weaves King Leopold into the plot. :)

Happyreader Thanks. After this book, I have no desire for any more Leopold. He was so awful that even the German Kaiser hated him. While I"m not a mystery reader, my mother has enjoyed the Millennium trilogy and the Snowman, so maybe one day. But no more Leopold. He's awful.

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