Someday, I have no doubt, the dead from today's wars will be seen with a similar sense of sorrow at needless loss and folly as those millions of men who lie in the cemeteries of France and Belgium - and tens of millions of Americans will feel a similar revulsion for the politicians and generals who were so spendthrift with others' lives.

— Adam Hochschild

The most staggering Adam Hochschild quotes that are little-known but priceless

And yet the world we live in-its divisions and conflicts, its widening gap between rich and poor, its seemingly inexplicable outbursts of violence-is shaped far less by what we celebrate and mythologize than by the painful events we try to forget. Leopold's Congo is but one of those silences of history.

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Growing inequality is a huge problem, and of course is intimately connected to xenophobia and racism.

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Compared with how we've ducked it in the United States, Canada should be really proud of how you have welcomed a significant number of refugees - far more, in fact, than we Americans have, even though our population is vastly larger.

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The first World War in so many ways shaped the 20th century and really remade our world for the worse.

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You know, by 1936, Hitler was already talking very loudly about his desire to expand to the east. Mussolini, in 1935, went and then in the next year, conquered Ethiopia, acquiring himself a colony. So people at the time really saw fascism not just as an evil but as an aggressive evil that seemed to be spreading.

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I think [George] Orwell is right. There are certainly moments when political differences appear minor, and someone can claim to be non-political or to want to stay out of the fray, but today is not one of those moments.

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A pioneer in this genre [ writing about the refugee crisis] : the book A Seventh Man, by the great John Berger, decades ago evoked the lives of migrant workers in Europe.

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How many really great writers are there who are totally non-political? You can hear the French Revolution in the poetry of [Percy Bysshe] Shelly and [John] Wordsworth; you can sense the vast inequalities of Tsarist Russia in [Anton] Chekhov and [Lev] Tolstoy.

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Even [Ernst] Hemingway, perhaps the most intentionally non-political of American writers, became passionately partisan during the Spanish Civil War.

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I think one thing writers can do is point out that you don't have to say openly racist things, like [Donald] Trump, to be a racist or a xenophobe.

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No international court can ever substitute for a working national justice system. Or for a society at piece.

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I'm after a snake and please God I'll scotch it.

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About Adam Hochschild

Quotes 26 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday 1942

Ronald Reagan perfected the subtler version long ago by talking about "welfare mothers" - a code phrase for people of colour.

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The late Nadine Gordimer in South Africa, for example, had a wonderful ability to get her country's injustices and contradictions down on paper. Ditto for her countryman the great playwright Athol Fugard.

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Speaking of Germany in 1933, I don't think you can remove yourself from politics when, in so many countries - the United States, Poland, Hungary, and many others - you've got politicians in power or vying for power who are taking tactics and elements of their appeal from the playbook of fascism.

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In Canada, the U.S. and most of Europe it may be easy to take political stands, this is something for which you can be forced to pay with your life, or your freedom, in many other parts of the world, from Iran to Russia to Pakistan to China.

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Some 2,800 Americans went to Spain [during the Spanish Civil War], and it was, by far, the largest number of Americans before or since who've ever joined somebody else's civil war. I think they were primarily people who were deeply alarmed by the menace of fascism. They saw this on the horizon. I quote one volunteer, Maury Colow of New York, who said, "for us it was never Franco, it was always Hitler."

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Newt Gingrich seldom misses a chance to note that he is a historian.

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Things have gotten openly more extreme in the last few years.

I was lecturing in Hungary, whose prime minister, Victor Orban, is an example of this trend. All over Budapest, statues have been replaced, museum exhibits have been redone, to turn ethnic Hungarians, not Jews, into the prime victims of the Germans during World War II. Five years ago, who would have thought this possible?

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It sure is a rising tide, and we have a particularly nasty exemplar of it in the U.S., in Donald Trump.

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All of us living in today's world are facing an enormous crisis - arguably the greatest that humanity has ever faced - in the form of man-made global warming; one can't be neutral at such a moment. It's like claiming to be neutral if you're living in Germany in 1933.

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I can certainly sympathize with writers who don't want to put themselves or their loved ones at risk.

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If your real wages are declining, your job is at risk, you fear your children will be worse off than you are, it's tempting to want to blame it all on an easily identifiable target: Muslims, immigrants, refugees, blacks, Jews.

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I think writers can respond by writing about the refugee crisis, by looking at problems faced by migrants, by trying hard to portray them as the human beings that they are.

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One of my favourite contemporary fiction writers is a Texan, Ben Fountain.

His extraordinary novel, Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk, all takes place within the half-time show at a Dallas Cowboys football game. No one has better summed up the American appetite for spectacle, the link between sports and politics, and the absolute madness of George W. Bush's Iraq War.

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