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Saturday, 10 April 2010

Book Reading Goal : Week 10

King Leopold's GhostIt's Week 10, and having already crossed the half-a-million words threshold, I wanted to treat myself to a classic -  King Leopald's Ghost - A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial AfricaBy Adam Hoschild is a remarkable book. Released in 1999, it tells the story of how Leopold, King of Belgium raped the Congo, maiming and murdering countless Congolese in his pursuit of ivory and rubber. Not satisfied with his monstrosity,  he went about systematically destroying all evidence, with those following after him hiding Belgium's past shame.

It's also an inspiring story of the Congo Reform Association's Ed Morel who led a fierce and successful struggle against Leopold's brutality and in the process built a positive legacy of the fight for human rights. Throughout the book you meet many interesting characters such as King Affonso I, Henry Stanley, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard. The book is a gem at so many levels that I cannot fully describe. Simply put, one cannot understand present day Congo without reading this book! A must read for any student of modern day Africa.

Memorable Quote :

No zeal, no Faith, inspired this Leopold,
Nor any madness of half-splendid birth.
Cool-eyed, he loosed the hounds that rend and slay,
Just that his coffers might be gorged with gold.
Embalm him, Time Forget him not, O Earth,
Trumpet his name, and flood his deeds with day.
Book Reading Goal Review
Books Read So Far : 12 books
Remaining Books to Achieve Target : 38 books
Weeks Remaining to Achieve Annual Target : 38 weeks


  1. A must read it is, you are absolutely right on that one.


  2. This is one of the most disturbing reads I have ever encountered, but well worth it. It's evident Hochschild researched his material well, and this made for a very thorough, and historical account of Leopold's brutal conquest of the Congo. It also brings to life the characters who bravely opposed the brutality inflicted on the Congolese people.

    I recommmend this book to everyone!

  3. Hi MissBwalya,

    And it continues. For further reading on the manipulation of DRC and Rwandan politics to this day, check out:

    The US was behind the Rwandan Genocide: Installing a US Protectorate in Central Africa
    16 Years Ago. 7 April 1994
    by Michel Chossudovsky
    Global Research, April 7, 2010
    - 2003-05-08

    Originally written in May 2000, the following text is Part II of Chapter 7 entitled "Economic Genocide in Rwanda", of the Second Edition of The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order , Global Research, Montreal, 2003. This text updates the author's analysis on Rwanda written in 1995 , which was published in the first edition of Globalization of Poverty, TWN and Zed Books, Penang and London, 1997. To order the Second Edition of The Globalization of Poverty, click here.

    This text is in part based on the results of a study conducted by the author together with Belgian economist Pierre Galand on the use of Rwanda's 1990-94 external debt to finance the military and paramilitary. This is very relevenat to Zambia too, because it are many of the same companies that are doing business in Zambia that are doing business in the DRC.


    Gertler's Bling Bang
    By Keith harmon Snow
    Thursday, February 07, 2008

    This article also touches on the same Dany Gertler who was contracted to evaluate ZAMTEL through RP Capital Partners.

  4. I read this book a few years ago, just after it ws published. You are right. It is absolutely riveting. It really struck a cord with me and was a poignant reminder of what deep seated racism is. The chopping off of hands was a particularly gruesome manifestation of this particular evil on mankind. It is a good alternative to Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'.


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