In This Review

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
By Adam Hochschild
Houghton Mufflin, 1998, 384 pp.

The story of Belgian depredations in the Congo under King Leopold II has been told before, but Hochschild has assembled the most remarkable facts and dramatis personae, added a keen appreciation for socio-political nuances in turn-of-the-century Europe and America, and produced a splendid new popular history. Henry Morton Stanley's megalomania and Leopold's hypocrisy and greed get their due, but what most inspires Hochschild is the international crusade for reform that compelled Leopold to relinquish his personal claim to the Congo Free State, "the first major international human rights movement of the twentieth century."