King Leopolds Ghost - Book Report/Review Example

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Book Review: King Leopold’s Ghost In his book King Leopold’s Ghost, Adam Hochschild attempted to create awareness about an untold occurrence in time – the independence of Congo. By profession, Adam Hochschild is a writer and journalist who has contributed many books and articles in various newspapers and magazines (“Adam Hochschild”, n.d.)…
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King Leopolds Ghost
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Download file to see previous pages The book makes an effort to raise the knowledge of people by reminding them about a forgotten occurrence which involved the killing of millions of innocent people. Throughout the book, Hochschild includes a myriad of factual information so as to recreate the events which occurred during the independence of Congo. It describes how Congo achieved its independence after so much of sacrifices and efforts (Hochschild, 1999). In the year 1800 Belgium took over Congo as a colony. Towards the 19th century, European countries were experiencing colonialism and were in a race of acquiring more and colonies to increase their power and territorial rule. King Leopold II was the ruler of Belgium and by acquiring Congo, he felt that Belgium’s power I as a colonialist had increased. Congo could bring them huge sums of money and other resources. But most importantly, it meant that Belgium, although small in size, was among the European competitors in imperialism. The book goes on to describe how Congo developed after its colonialism and the changes in society that were observed as a result of Belgian reign. King Leopold II’s main personal interest from Congo was not in the colony itself but the amount of money and resources it would bring to Belgium. Although Belgian men flourished with the money that the colony brought to them, Congolese people suffered greatly as they often had very little food to eat. Congolese workers were forced to do long hours of labor and many died as they refused to work. The book presents the sufferings and deaths of the native Congolese people during King Leopold II’s rule. The natives were forced to perform labor and many native people died when they refused. The punishment of refusing to work was harsh and often resulted in body mutilation or death. The Congolese people have suffered greatly during his reign with the death count ranging between 8 million to 10 million deaths during his ruling period. After Roger Casemount gave his description of the cruelty occurring in the region, the common people tuned against Leopold II. Casemount had visited Congo and seen the sad conditions of the native people. This sparked a movement among reformers who wanted to drive King Leopold II’s rule out of Africa (Hochschild, 1999). The atrocities carried out in Congo under King Leopold II’s reign have often been associated with those carried out by the Nazi Party in Germany during World War II. The only difference between the cruelties performed by the Nazi Party and King Leopold II defers in the sense that Nazi used ethnicity as basis for carrying out killings while Leopold II massacred the Congolese for personal greed and interests. In the book, Hochschild backs up his writing with relevant sources from primary sources including journals, diary archives, and so on. However, this does not make the book boring by introducing too much of facts. Hochschild has done it in such a way that his account does not exaggerate the terror and evil deeds carried out by Leopold II but instead it mentions the atrocities as it is. It is pleasing to know that reformers do raise their voice in the book against the cruelties carried out by Leopold II in hopes to exploit Congo to the fullest extent. Edward Morel and Roger Casemount played a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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