Poverty, War, and Violence in South Africa

Cambridge University Press
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Poverty and violence are issues of global importance. In Poverty, War, and Violence in South Africa, Clifton Crais explores the relationship between colonial conquest and the making of South Africa's rural poor. Based on a wealth of archival sources, this detailed history changes our understanding of the origins of the gut-wrenching poverty that characterizes rural areas today. Crais shifts attention away from general models of economic change and focuses on the enduring implications of violence in shaping South Africa's past and present. Crais details the devastation wrought by European forces and their African auxiliaries. Their violence led to wanton bloodshed, large-scale destruction of property, and famine. Crais explores how the survivors struggled to remake their lives, including the adoption of new crops, and the world of inequality and vulnerability colonial violence bequeathed. He concludes with a discussion of contemporary challenges and the threats to democracy in South Africa.
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About the author

Clifton Crais is Professor of History and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Emory University. He is author of over one hundred works, including Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography (2008) - on the woman more famously known as the 'Hottentot Venus' and the subject of a feature film, 'Venus Noire' - The Politics of Evil: Magic, Power and the Political Imagination in South Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and White Supremacy and Black Resistance in Pre-Industrial South Africa: The Making of the Colonial Order in the Eastern Cape, 1770865 (Cambridge University Press, 1992). He is also editor of The Culture of Power in Southern Africa: Essays on State Formation and the Political Imagination (2003), co-editor of Breaking the Chains: Slavery and its Legacy in Nineteenth-Century South Africa (1995) and Area Editor of the Encyclopedia of World History (8 volumes, 2008). Crais is nearing completion of History Lessons, a work that combines memoir, historiography and the neuroscience of memory, and a documentary history of South Africa. Long-range works include a history of violence and explorations of fiction and creative non-fiction concerning memory and narrative.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Sep 19, 2011
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Pages
199
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ISBN
9781139503563
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Africa / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million—all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II. With great power and compassion, King Leopold's Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo—too long forgotten—onto the conscience of the West.
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