King Leopold’s Ghost was written by Adam Hochschild and was first published in the fall of 1998. After being refused by nine different publishing houses, the tenth house accepted it and the novel became an international bestseller and won the Mark Lynton History Prize for literary style as well as the 1999 Duff Cooper Prize.
Adam Hochschild worked with civil rights activists in Mississippi after graduating from Harvard in the early 1960s. He later worked with anti-government journalists in South Africa. With his experience in many human rights struggles, Hochschild has written much on the subject, including the effects of Stalin’s actions, the Boer War of South Africa, the continuation of slavery under the British Empire, and the Vietnam War.
King Leopold’s Ghost tells of how the Congo was exploited heavily by King Leopold II and recounts the atrocities that the Belgians committed between 1885 and 1908, making King Leopold II, imperialism, and racism the antagonists of the novel.