379pp., illus., paperback, map, London (1999) 2019
Winner of the 1999 Duff Cooper Prize.
An account of a King Leopold of Belgium's barbarous colonization of the vast territory surrounding the Congo River and the ruthless regime he set up that reduced the population by half. Hochschild also tells of the handful of Africans, Americans and Europeans who chose to stand up against Leopold.
"A hundred years ago, enlightened people in the western world were outraged by a holocaust in Africa which left millions dead. Denunciations thundered from speaker's platforms around the US and Europe. One open letter to The Times was signed by 11 peers, 19 bishops and 75 MPs. Viscount Grey, Britain's foreign secretary, declared that no overseas issue had so intensely aroused the British public for 30 years. Conan Doyle wrote a pamphlet on the Congo atrocities which sold 25,000 copies in the first week alone. Yet today not one person in a thousand could say what the fuss was all about, unless, of course, they have read this amazing book." Tariq Ali, Financial Times
American journalist and author Adam Hochschild's books include To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918, Bury the Chains (Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN USA Literary Award, the Gold Medal of the California Book Awards), The Mirror at Midnight, The Unquiet Ghost and Spain in Our Hearts. In 2009 he received the Theodore Roosevelt-Woodrow Wilson Award from the American Historical Association and in 2014 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He teaches at the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.