Review Of King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story Of Greed, Terror, And Heroism In Colonial Africa By Adam Hochschild: [Essay Example], 1238 words GradesFixer

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Review of King Leopold’s Ghost: a Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild

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While there are still people in this world, evil will always exist. Evil can present itself in a plethora of forms. There is evil when its active, a process where people actively keep the evil alive. An example of this would be genocide. Genocide is when a group of people exterminate a group of people soley because they are unlike the person in charge of the genocide. Genocide is evil and its active. Still, its not always active and intentional. Sometimes evil is a result of greed. When it is in this form its often unintentional, but at the same time fully avoided if the evil-doer would have not disregarded or overlooked the result of their actions. This form of evil is banality and passive.

The story of King Leopold the formally known Congo Free State is the ultimate result of passive evil. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa actively portrays the way evil has the the potential to be the result of a dishonest system, rather than emotion itself as the case is with genocide. To some, passive is worse than active evil. This is because passive evil isn’t intentual and typically unstopped. Although Adam ***** Leopold’s ghost story isn’t well known, it is still a very important one to read and understand. There are an abundance of leaders in the world with the same so obviously complete overlook of the rights of the people they rule over. That being said would it not beg the thought that this could very will happen again, over and over. That is the main reason why Hochschild’s well written book should be a requirement in high school.

The story, set in the 19th century, describes how England acquired the colonies, more specifically those of the Congo. When King Leopold II sees this happen he makes it a mission to “…secure for ourselves a slice of this magnificent African cake” (). What he is not understanding is this African cake he speaks of is already owned by the people who lived there. To receive his piece of the cake, he must decide which colony in Africa he will colonize. There are very few parts of the Africa continent that hadn’t been ravaged by the other Europeans. To begin with, the king contacts the well-known traveler and explorer, Henry Morton Stanley. He hired Stanly to travel around the continent to find the destination of the famous Congo River. Keep in mind that at the time no other European along with Westerner had accomplished by this time. As Stanly was doing this, King Leopold set up a charitable-looking front by the name of International African Association. Basically, at this time the King owned the Congo, or previously known as Congo Free State. Ivory was used to fund his mission. Luckily for him – and sadly staggeringly for the Congolese – he utilizes the land as the world elastic hunger ends up insatiable. The Congo Free State was lousy with elastic vines and adequately held an elastic market imposing business model: different contestants would need to sit tight years for their developed elastic trees to develop.

So Leopold Ii needed to separate however much elastic from land when could reasonably be expected. The process of collecting rubber from the vines is vividly described by Hochschild, and it’s terrible. It involves spreading the rubber on one’s body to dry, then peeling it (and any body hair) off. Often from hundreds of feet above the ground. Thus not being the kind of work an “acculturated” Westerner would appreciate, work originated from local people. Since they were seen as sub-human by Leopold II, Stanley, and, well, most Westerners, enslaving them to hard work for no compensation did not surface as an issue; the Belgian arrangement was to grab ladies, kids, and town senior citizens, at that point hold them for an elastic payment, with every Congolese man given a quantity to gather before the detainees would be returned. On the off chance that the laborers or networks got feisty, Belgium’s military would subdue the rebellion utilizing the chicotte (a whip produced using hippo shroud), the cleaver (used to remove the hands of the individuals who didn’t deliver), and the firearm. Riding next to the two Horsemen of War and Conquest were Pestilence and Death. Hunger, malnutrition, and poor working conditions helped dysentery, cholera, malaria, and sleeping sickness to flourish, and millions of Congolese died. With Leopold a prime example of a rival, the story needs no less than one hero; Hochschild’s principle holy person is Edmund D. Morel, the first to construe that if essentially no merchandise were foreign into the Congo Free State (cash wasn’t a thought, as the Congolese weren’t permitted to utilize it), however ivory and elastic left in a great many boats, something was up: specialists weren’t being made up for their work. The ruler who was vociferously against the insidious “Bedouin” slave exchange was utilizing slaves himself.

A viable speaker and communicator, Morel began the Congo Reform Association and the West African Mail daily paper, and gradually instructed the world on Leopold’s reign of dread in the Congo Free State. Hochschild considers his battle the principal critical human rights crusade of the advanced time. Morel was fundamentally helped by George Washington Williams, a dark American government official and clergyman who was one of the first to raise the alert in the wake of seeing the persecution straightforwardly; William Sheppard, a dark American evangelist who went about as one of the principle ethnographers/anthropologists for the Congolese individuals; and Roger Casement, a British negotiator who pushed the British and others to act. In the long run, the tide of general assessment turned, Leopold II passed on, and the Congo Free State turned into a genuine Belgian settlement. Lamentably, a cheerful consummation for the Congolese individuals doesn’t desire… a while. Leopold’s mediation breaks the country and Belgium keeps on printing cash on the backs of the Congolese. Indeed, even after autonomy in the mid 1960s, the Western world kept on interfering.

The American Central Intelligence Agency plotted with the Belgians to kill Patrice Lumumba, the nation’s first equitably chose Prime Minister, and propped up Mobutu Sese Seko, maybe the non-romantic perfect of the kleptocrat. (For a later history of Zaire/Democratic Republic of the Congo, see my audit of Jason Stearns’ Dancing in the Glory of Monsters) This is ongoing Western history that has been under-talked about and undervalued. It’s not difficult to perceive any reason why: a fierce, instinctive contextual analysis in Western mediation and interruption turned out badly, the contextual analysis is an awkward to take a gander at Western dominion’s results. Yet, the things that are hard to consider are regularly fundamentally essential to recollect, and Hochschild’s book encourages us do that. Since he’s ready to recount the story in such a convincing way, you ought to have no reason yet to get it and gain from it. It’s insufficient to peruse the book, however, on the off chance that all you take away is history. This is available, and this is future – if not in the entirety of its ruthlessness, unquestionably in the admonitions of unchecked eagerness. Regardless of whether executed by a Wall Street agent or an enterprise that doesn’t guarantee safe working conditions for shirt producers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the affinity of ravenousness to dazzle individuals to the methods for gaining riches is an ever-present issue.

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Review Of King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story Of Greed, Terror, And Heroism In Colonial Africa By Adam Hochschild. (2020, April 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 28, 2020, from
“Review Of King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story Of Greed, Terror, And Heroism In Colonial Africa By Adam Hochschild.” GradesFixer, 12 Apr. 2020,
Review Of King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story Of Greed, Terror, And Heroism In Colonial Africa By Adam Hochschild. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Oct. 2020].
Review Of King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story Of Greed, Terror, And Heroism In Colonial Africa By Adam Hochschild [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Apr 12 [cited 2020 Oct 28]. Available from:
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