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Download King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample King Leopolds Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa Audiobook, by Adam Hochschild Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (9,343 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Adam Hochschild Narrator: Geoffrey Howard, Ralph Cosham Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2010 ISBN: 9780307877628
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In the late 1890s, Edmund Dene Morel, a young British shipping company agent, noticed something strange about the cargoes of his company’s ships as they arrived from and departed for the Congo, Leopold II’s vast new African colony. Incoming ships were crammed with valuable ivory and rubber. Outbound ships carried little more than soldiers and firearms. Correctly concluding that only slave labor on a vast scale could account for these cargoes, Morel resigned from his company and almost singlehandedly made Leopold’s slavelabor regime the premier humanrights story in the world. Thousands of people packed hundreds of meetings throughout the United States and Europe to learn about Congo atrocities. Two courageous black Americans—George Washington Williams and William Sheppard—risked much to bring evidence to the outside world. Roger Casement, later hanged by Britain as a traitor, conducted an eyeopening investigation of the Congo River stations. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming over all was Leopold II, King of the Belgians, sole owner of the only private colony in the world. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A remarkable achievement, hugely satisfying on many levels. It overwhelmed me in the way Heart of Darkness did when I first read it—and for precisely the same reasons: as a revelation of the horror that had been hidden in the Congo.”

    Paul Theroux

  • “A vivid, novelistic narrative that makes the reader acutely aware of the magnitude of the horror perpetrated by King Leopold and his minions.”

    New York Times

  • “As Hochschild’s brilliant book demonstrates, the great Congo scandal prefigured our own times…This book must be read and reread.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Carefully researched and vigorously told, King Leopold’s Ghost does what good history always does—expands the memory of the human race.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • A 1998 New York Times Notable Book for Nonfiction
  • An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Nonfiction
  • A 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 melissa/missy | 2/17/2014

    " This book is awesome. I was expecting something dry and scholarly, but Hochschid can write some compelling non-fiction. I highly recommend this book--because I think it's so important for people to get grounded in the stories of (not-so-ancient) colonial history, and also because it is a completely riveting book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 1/25/2014

    " Having spent two years in Belgium and knowing that today Antwerp is the diamond capitol of the world (run by Orthodox Jews) I was always curious how this came to be. Noone in Belgium seemed to want to discuss Belgiums colonial past. In fact, most of the Belgiums that I interacted with felt the same dismissiveness when discussing Hitler. I later learned that about King Leopold's atrocities (not from anyone in Belgium). This book described in detail what an evil and self-centered person King Leopold was (I often passed by the palace on the tramp or light rail and saw some of the excentricities accumulated during these years). It is sad what Belgium did to the Congo and Africa continues to suffer for it today. With all that said the book was not very well written and often went into detail that was unnecessary. Despite that the book was well researched and the pictures were facinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucy_van_pelt | 1/23/2014

    " Absolutely chilling account of Belgian King Leopold's systematic genocide in Congo. Riveting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric Goode | 1/19/2014

    " I have not read many history books like this. I have since read several others that he has written because the story that he tells is intoxicating. In my limited opinion, I think he is the best history author I have read. You will enjoy it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen Walton | 1/19/2014

    " Good history book. Sad what people put other's through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jordan Baese | 1/7/2014

    " wow. I understand a little bit of why Africa is Africa now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kenghis Khan | 1/7/2014

    " An engrossing page-turner. Horschild does a terrific job in the narrative, imagery, character development and scholarship. I was reading this on a trip, and had to actually limit myself to a chapter a night so I didn't finish it too early with nothing left to read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin Bell | 1/5/2014

    " Well written, terrifying, horrible story. It's shameful how few people are familiar with the facts. People don't usually associate belgium with the horrors of colonialism. This book should be read by every responsible literate man woman and child. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 1/3/2014

    " I remember very little from this book and I plan to reread it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Everill | 12/30/2013

    " We are reading this in my CU World History class. This is the true story behind Conrad's Heart of Darkness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aura | 12/28/2013

    " Wonderfully crafted narrative of both the best and the worst that humanity has to offer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 nicole | 12/19/2013

    " would give it 6 stars if i could "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caitlin | 12/9/2013

    " Very well written book on the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Must read for anyone with interests in the region. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 12/9/2013

    " It is unbelievable that this is non-fiction. It reads like a novel without dulling the brutality of the subject matter. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alvin | 12/6/2013

    " This horrific tale of rapacious plunder and quasi-genocidal despotism is a must read for anyone who wants to understand either colonialism or the contemporary post-colonial world. It feels weird to call a book with such a depressing and shameful subject compulsively readable, but it was. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eben | 10/30/2013

    " Read in one of my African history classes at OSU. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Will Craighead | 6/15/2013

    " Very informative about African colonialism in the late 19th century in general and about his participation specifically. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 6/3/2013

    " The poor Congo - a thorough account of the explotation by Belgians in the Congo and those who tried to stop it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 2/15/2013

    " Good source, but in parts very boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessa | 7/28/2012

    " While I usually love historical exposee by journalists, I was not in love with King Leopold's Ghost. The only thing that kept me reading was the hook Barbara Kingsolver provided in Poisonwood Bible to understand the history of The Congo. Read her if you want to get through him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 11/5/2011

    " Disturbing. I want to re-read Heart of Darkness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacki Murphy | 10/8/2011

    " A beautifully written but tragically horrifying tale about how Belgium's King Leopold was directly responsible for 10 million deaths in the Congo... and how almost no one today remembers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mal | 6/22/2011

    " having read dozens of books about ww1, I found this one unique in that it weaves real lives into the narrative. starting with victoria's jubilee in 1897, it traces key personalities who had influence on the outcome the war both positive and negative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meldrid1 | 6/19/2011

    " Hochschild reaches his own very high standard. It is an excellent and moving account of World War I, made painfully accessible through the chronicled experience of mostly British warriors and anti-war protestors. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Philip | 6/19/2011

    " Great book! An excellent supplement to Tuchman's classics "The proud tower" and "Guns of august". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 6/15/2011

    " Very interesting social history of the period "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 6/7/2011

    " Good book in examining the time period and additional dimensions to the war other than battles and strategy; however, I found it somewhat disjointed because it moved from character to character in between tremendous battles and turning points in the war. "

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About the Author
Author Adam Hochschild

Adam Hochschild is the author of a number of books, including Half the Way Home, The Mirror at Midnight, and The Unquiet Ghost. Three of his books, including King Leopold’s Ghost, have been named Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review and Library Journal. Adam has also written for the New Yorker, Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, and the Nation. He teaches writing in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in San Francisco.

About the Narrator

Ralph Cosham (1936–2014), a.k.a. Geoffrey Howard, was a British journalist who changed careers to become a narrator and screen and stage actor. He performed in more than one hundred professional theatrical roles, and several of his narrations were named “Audio Best of the Year” by Publishers Weekly. He won seven AudioFile Earphones Awards, and in 2013 he won the coveted Audie Award for Best Mystery Narration for his reading of Louise Penny’s The Beautiful Mystery.