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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (Houghton Mifflin, 1998) will speak on "A King, an African Holocaust, and a Great Human Rights Movement: Leopold II and the Conquest of the Congo" at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 16, in Reed College's Vollum Lounge. The event, sponsored by the David Robinson Memorial Fund for Human Rights, is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Reed events line at 503/777-7755.

"Hochschild's superb, engrossing chronicle focuses on one of the great, horrifying and nearly forgotten crimes of the century," wrote Publisher's Weekly.

Paul Theroux wrote of King Leopold's Ghost: "Much more than a book about Africa, it puts European and American history and human rights into perspective. It is a chronicle of true heroes and despicable villains and one of the strangest and most violent episodes of empire the world has known."

In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and largely unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed the population by ten million. Heroic efforts to expose this secret crime finally led to the first great international human rights movement of the twentieth century in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated.

Adam Hochschild is the author of Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels (Syracuse University Press, 1997), The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin (Viking Penguin, 1994), The Mirror at Midnight: A South African Journey (Viking Penguin, 1990), and Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son (Viking Penguin, 1986/Reprinted by Syracuse University Press, 1996). Both The Unquiet Ghost and Half the Way Home were New York Times "Notable Books of the Year" and Library Journal "Best Books of the Year," among other awards. Hochschild's articles and book review have been published in Harper's, the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Review of Books, The Nation, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere. He has been a commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. A teacher of writing at the Graduate School of Journalism of the University of California, Berkeley, he was a Fulbright Scholar in India in 1997-98.

The David Robinson Memorial Fund for Human Rights was established in honor of David Robinson, a long-time friend of Reed. The memorial fund was instituted to support visiting lecturers, to purchase books and periodicals for Reed's library, and to help finance special research by faculty and students in the area of human rights.