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King Leopold's Ghost, a story of greed, terror, and heroism in colonization by Adam Huchschild is among the author's popular novels. The book tells of a story of cruel dehumanization of Africans people in Congo so that they can meet the desires of wealth and power for others. The author has used African s as the victims in this book while Leopold is the villain. He has used fictional additives to supplement the historical evidence of colonization in Congo. The book brings to open the secret history of Congo that characterized by greed, terror, and heroism.
King Leopold is a very notorious figure with character traits of both cruelty and charming. He manipulated his image in a cunning way so that he could come out with a reputation of a great humanitarian in the middle of violence and bloodshed. He was born in a royal family and was sure that in future he would become the king of Belgium. His mission was therefore to expand Belgium as much as e could. One of his partners in crime, Henry Morton Stanley was troubled when England seemed not to care less about his discovery of Congo in Africa. The joined plan of the two was to create a successful plan for dominating Congo.
Leopold thought he would do this by bringing Christianity and abolishing slave trade to various European leaders (Gondola, 16). Leopold used much deception and lies so that he could gain as much land as possible within a short time. People who went to work in Africa could at first note his holocaust. Africans had died due to beating and whippings as they worked as iron and rubber harvesters so as they can meet the production goals. They were overworked in the slave like conditions and some ended up dying. These Africans were also subjected to disease that had been brought by Europeans. Food shortage ravaged across the Congo basin as Leopold and his army searched the countryside taking all the food and destroying villages and fields (Nzongola-Ntalaja, 20-30).
The Author puts in other characters to make the story alive such as Edmund Morel, a young British shipping manager who led attempts to ruin Leopold. Roger casement a patriot and Hero in the story from Ireland but was eventually executed in London gallows. George Washington Williams and William Sheppared, two courageous African Americans who took a life risk bringing evidence of Leopold's cruelty to the other parts of the world (Hochschild, 102-113). The efforts put by these men helped in pressurizing Leopold who in 1908 turned over Congo to Belgium.
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Historically accurate and inaccurate judgment
The story is an accurate judgment of what happened in Congo during that time. The author just brings back to the minds of people a forgotten history of acts of violence that stains the pages of the world's history. It is an accurate story of greed, terror, and heroism that caused suffering to people of Congo as it is seen through the eyes of historians and activists. It is story of the hidden history of Congo that reveals all the information needed in understanding what really happened.
However, it has been found to be historically inaccurate to present the story from only the African point of view leaving out the Europeans who were also directly involved as the masterminds of colonization. Secondly, the author has compared the Leopold, whose violence was not extremely intense with massive killers such as Hitler and Stalin Belgian. However, he did this comparison to attract public attention but Leopold does not deserve to be compared with such ruthless and massive killers.
Huchschild has used his novel to bring out the hidden history of Congo that had not been known to many especially in today's world. This history was hidden and has not been a major feature in public history such as those people like Hitler. However, thorough this book, the author has brought an insight into what happened at that time in Congo.
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