Edward Berenson


On his book Heroes of Empire: Five Charismatic Men and the Conquest of Africa

Cover Interview of December 12, 2010

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“How, between 1870 and 1914, imperialism became a popular phenomenon.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“Ordinary British and French men and women remained indifferent to empire. But that disinterest did not extend to those who braved the scarcely imaginable dangers of unknown places and ‘savage’ people. Ordinary citizens concentrated on heroes.”

On the second:

“It isn’t every day that an independent African state pays homage to the European who had once subjected its people to colonial rule. But Congo’s rulers are so unpopular and Brazza’s reputation as a humane leader so durable that the Congolese government wanted to bask in the aura that still surrounds the explorer’s name.”