Read from October 23, 2012 to January 31, 2015
Description: King Leopold of Belgium, writes historian Adam Hochschild in this grim history, did not much care for his native land or his subjects, all of which he dismissed as "small country, small people." Even so, he searched the globe to find a colony for Belgium, frantic that the scramble of other European powers for overseas dominions in Africa and Asia would leave nothing for himself or his people. When he eventually found a suitable location in what would become the Belgian Congo, later known as Zaire and now simply as Congo, Leopold set about establishing a rule of terror that would culminate in the deaths of 4 to 8 million indigenous people, "a death toll," Hochschild writes, "of Holocaust dimensions." Those who survived went to work mining ore or harvesting rubber, yielding a fortune for the Belgian king, who salted away billions of dollars in hidden bank accounts throughout the world. Hochschild's fine book of historical inquiry, which draws heavily on eyewitness accounts of the colonialists' savagery, brings this little-studied episode in European and African history into new light.--Gregory McNamee
Dedication: For David Hunter
*gasp* what, him from Crossroads!?
Opening: On January 28 1841, a quarter-century after Turkey's failed expedition, the man who would spectacularly accomplish what Turkey tried to do was born in the small Welsh market town of Denbigh.
I saved the last few pages for Saturday late evening to accompany a sauna glow and a glass of wine. I cannot give a book 5* when the author insists in saying scotch instead of scottish grrr.
Tomorrow, I watch Heart of Darkness through new eyes, and search for The Inheritors where L II makes an appearance.