Adam Hochschild

professor, graduate journalism, UC Berkeley

Adam Hochschild is an American author and journalist. As a college student, he spent a summer working on an anti-government newspaper in South Africa and subsequently worked briefly as a civil rights worker in Mississippi in 1964. Both were politically pivotal experiences about which he would later write in his book Finding the Trapdoor. He later was part of the movement against the Vietnam War, and, after several years as a daily newspaper reporter, worked as a writer and editor for the leftwing Ramparts magazine. In the mid-1970s, he was one of the co-founders of Mother Jones. Hochschild’s first book was a memoir, Half the Way Home: a Memoir of Father and Son (1986), in which he described the difficult relationship he had with his father. His later books include The Mirror at Midnight: a South African Journey (1990; new edition, 2007), The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin (1994; new edition, 2003), Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels (1997), which collects his personal essays and reportage, and King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (1998; new edition, 2006), a history of the conquest and colonization of the Congo by Belgium’s King Leopold II. His Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves, published in 2005, is about the antislavery movement in the British Empire.

Adam Hochschild is an American author and journalist. As a college student, he spent a summer working on an anti-government newspaper in South Africa and subsequently worked briefly as a civil rights worker in Mississippi in 1964. Both were politically pivotal experiences about which he would later write in his book Finding the Trapdoor. He later was part of the movement against the Vietnam War, and, after several years as a daily newspaper reporter, worked as a writer and editor for the leftwing Ramparts magazine. In the mid-1970s, he was one of the co-founders of Mother Jones. Hochschild’s first book was a memoir, Half the Way Home: a Memoir of Father and Son (1986), in which he described the difficult relationship he had with his father. His later books include The Mirror at Midnight: a South African Journey (1990; new edition, 2007), The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin (1994; new edition, 2003), Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels (1997), which collects his personal essays and reportage, and King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (1998; new edition, 2006), a history of the conquest and colonization of the Congo by Belgium’s King Leopold II. His Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves, published in 2005, is about the antislavery movement in the British Empire.