The Dublin Review of Books sees The Devil and Mr Casement as a worthy successor to Adam Hoshchild’s King Leopold’s Ghost
The single quotation on the dust jacket of this book is provided by the American author Adam Hochschild. A decade ago, Hochschild reawakened popular interest in the historical plight of the Congo with his shocking book King Leopold’s Ghost.3 In several ways, The Devil and Mr Casement is a deliberate and worthy sequel to Hochschild’s bestseller. Both are Manichaean tales relating the struggle between evil (materialism) and good (spirituality). The prose reads with the pace of a novel, but this does not compromise its value as a work of historical exactitude. The writing is clear, the research is scrupulous and the story retrieves an important human rights campaign of the early twentieth century. With the detachment required of his discipline, Goodman pieces together the facts, silences and fictions associated with the atrocities committed along the Putumayo river of the Upper Amazon, an extensive region of rainforest bordering Colombia, Brazil and Peru, which was turned into a killing field when western markets went mad for rubber. Goodman gives a chilling account of an appalling crime against humanity. The moral of the tale has clear resonances in our own time when the destruction of ancient cultures continues unchecked and where the rapid degradation of the planetary environment propels us towards an increasingly unstable world.
(…) There is, inevitably, still a good deal of embedded opposition to understanding the story differently, but the measured precision of Goodman’s narrative will awaken those who have retained the capacity for free thinking – in an era when the collective crime of indifference prevails – to see through to the other side. Anyone wishing to understand the extraordinary life of Roger Casement should leave the shelf of flawed biographies alone and turn instead to this book, which unmasks the deeper identity of one of the most ineradicable individuals ever to stand up to the evil that men do.
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