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Thesis What some have considered to be the first international scandal of the modern era took place in the Congo from 1890 until 1910 King Leopold II of Belgium was at the head of this so-called scandal Although Europe and the rest of the world seemed to have forgotten the victims of these crimes there is a considerable amount of material to use when attempting torecreate the horror that took place in Leopolds Congo This is exactly what Adam Hochschild is attempting to do by writing this book By using the written words of mostly Europeans and Americans which creates a distorted view of history he wants to show that the Holocaust type event that took place in the Congo is something that should never be forgotten in our history Hochschild also wants to show the heroism that took place afterwards in what became the first human rights movement of our time Historiography King Leopolds Ghost is meant to be part of a long history of texts about the colonization of Africa Hochschild refers to those texts in the course of the book most notably the wildly popular works of Henry Morton Stanley and Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness In a very real sense Hochschilds book is not only a response and continuation of those works about the European colonization of Africa but also a re-imagining of what that colonization meant and the consequences it had on all involved Hochschild does an excellent and detailed job of showing how clever and cunning like a fox Leopold was in obtaining and maintaining his hold in the Congo Early on Leopold became obsessed with the idea of colonies and the profit that they could bring to his country In the beginning he did not attempt to cover-up this ambition but soon realized he needed to in order to have the approval of those countries around him The metaphor Hochschild uses to explain Leopolds
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