Hochschild's subtitle is "A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa". The heroism described is mostly that of the few investigators who dared to tell the truth of the mutilations, murders and slavery that characterised Leopold's Congo, the likes of E.D. Morel and Roger Casement. Hochschild regrets that there are very few accounts available from the African perspective. Conrad's Heart of Darkness is about the destructive moral effect of the Congo experience on Europeans like Kurtz; the Africans in the story do not speak, and they were rarely allowed to tell their story in real life either.
My office is a stone's throw from the Parc du Cinquantenaire / Jubelpark, created in the suburb beyond Etterbeek by Leopold II from his vast Congolese profits. It contains a rather disturbing monument to the Congo enterprise, as well as the pretentious archway which frames the end of the Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat. A favourite excursion for the children is to the Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, where the stuffed animals are cute but the historical record is, in more than one sense of the word, whitewashed. As Hochschild points out, the legacy of the colonial enterprise is visible in the streets of Belgium today, if you know where to look, or indeed if you just look with your eyes open.