In the early twentieth century, the worldwide rubber boom led British enterpreneur Lord Leverhulme to the Belgian Congo. Warmly welcomed by the murderous regime of King Leopold II, Leverhulme set up a private kingdom reliant on the horrific Belgian system of forced labor, a program that reduced the population of Congo by half and accounted for more deaths than the Nazi Holocaust. In this definitive, meticulously researched history, Jules Marchal exposes the nature of forced labor under Lord Leverhulme’s rule and the appalling conditions imposed upon the people of Congo. With an extensive introduction by Adam Hochschild, Lord Leverhulme’s Ghosts is an important and urgently needed account of a laboratory of colonial exploitation.
“His capacious narrative is both disturbing and fascinating”—The New Yorker