Belgian King Leopold II had a well-tuned business mind. He looked at the Congo region and decided to backhandedly colonize it through deals that created and tapped the rubber plantations. Through his arguably blatant neglect, atrocities were committed in the region– hands chopped from living people as evidence of corpses killed, murders of underperforming rubber tappers, holding women hostage to force the men to work the fields. The overall story was of turning the region from a self-sufficient happy place where villages were filled with productive people into subsistence farmers who could barely make ends meet since they were being forced into working the rubber vines all day.
The author makes a good point towards the end of the book about Why the Congo? why did this region get so much attention when atrocities were being committed across Africa by invaders.
Overall rating– average. I think I’d rather read Heart of Darkness to get a better feel for the time/place.
sub=A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa