Lessons from a Dark Time and Other Essays

Univ. of California. Oct. 2018. 296p. photos. ISBN 9780520297241. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780520969674. SOC SCI
OrangeReviewStarHochschild's (King Leopold's Ghost) latest work collects highlights from his prolific six-decade-long career. In several essays, one is amazed at the precise record of atrocities kept by those who committed them, with Hochschild's reporting helping to offer a realistic account. For instance, during the American occupation of the Philippines before World War I, army intelligence officers maintained meticulous (if often inaccurate) documentation of anticolonial sentiment, the same accounting was later used to weed out antiwar and prolabor voices during World War I and later echoed in the CIA's infiltration of student groups in the 1960s. Hochschild is adept at both journalistic and historical reporting, with the theme of humanity's capacity for darkness woven throughout. Abroad, Hochschild relates archival evidence on the number of lashes doled out to mine workers in the Congo by their Belgian overseers, thus demonstrating the need to put authority under a microscope and to step outside one's own experience to understand history.
VERDICT A necessary look at a past that feels uncomfortably familiar. One is left to wonder how future essayists in Hochschild's circle will view the world we currently inhabit.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing