King Leopold's Ghost: Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

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The historical book King Leopold's Ghost written by Adam Hochschild is well-known for depicting the horrific atrocities conducted by King Leopold II. He enslaved the Congolese in order to import rubber, ivory, and other valuable goods. The slaves were abused or killed, while others died of foreign diseases. While the Congolese population plummeted, King Leopold's fortune increased incredibly. During his reign, millions of Congolese people died. However, there were also people who strongly opposed King Leopold's actions. There were several activists who exposed his cruelty to the public. Among them, one was a journalist, Edmund Dene Morel. Desperately trying to support his family, he began to work for Elder Dempster, a Liverpool shipping line. Upon discovering Leopold's sins, he became determined to gain more information regarding the conditions in the Congo. He created his own publication, the “West African Mail,” despite losing his job. Having his own publication, he was able to reveal Leopold's sins to the public. Years later, he started a collaboration with Roger Casement. Casement was appointed by Leopold to work for Elder Dempster, where he discovered the brutality that occurred in the Congo. Casement and Morel collaborated, and their Congo reform movement succeeded. However, Casement was soon executed for treason. A year after, Morel was also imprisoned. Due to the poor conditions in the prison, he developed several health risks. Regardless of having heart complications, he died peacefully. An interesting story that I came upon was about a sixteen year old named Caroline. She was Antoine-Emmanuel Durrieux's mistress, but she left him for Leopold. At the time, Leopold was sixty-five y... ... middle of paper ... ...alth to Caroline. After Leopold's death, however, Caroline married Antoine-Emmanuel Durrieux, her former love. King Leopold's Ghost seemed much more interesting than the other books, which is why I chose it. The cover was not some boring picture of a soldier or the ocean, and the name was quite interesting too. In contrast to the other books, this book actually had a unique title. The “Ghost” in the title made me wonder why it was called that. Since I wanted to find out more, I chose this book to do for my report. King Leopold's Ghost is well-written, with no details missed. I admired how the author was so accurate with every detail, capturing every event precisely. Works Cited __________________ Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. United States: Mariner Books, 1998

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