King Leopold's Soliloquy

Tags: books

King Leopold II was a cold bastard. Let’s assume he was one tenth the bastard that Mark Twain makes him out to be King Leopold’s Soliloquy. That’s still one cold and messed up dude.

The book is short. I spent an hour with it. I caught myself scrunching my face into a look of disgust several times in that hour. The following is from the Congo Free State Wikipedia page, but try it out for disgust:

They also burned recalcitrant villages, and above all, took human hands as trophies on the orders of their officers to show that bullets hadn’t been wasted. (As officers were concerned that their subordinates might waste their ammunition on hunting animals for sport, they required soldiers to submit one hand for every bullet spent.)

One hand per bullet spent. If soldiers shot an animal for food, they’d pick a random native and chop off his hand to pay for the bullet.