The King Incorporated

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The King Incorporated:
Leopold the Second in the age of trusts
First edition
Author Neal Ascherson
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher George Allen & Unwin
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 310
ISBN 1-86207-290-6
Followed by The Polish August : the self-limiting revolution

The King Incorporated was the first history book published by award-winning Scottish journalist and historian Neal Ascherson exploring the course of the Congo Free State from its foundation to annexation, as well as the role of King Leopold II.

The King Incorporated was first published in 1963 (three years after the Congo's independence from Belgium) and has been reprinted in 8 editions.


The work was described by The Guardian as "a fascinating account of Leopold II of Belgium and his extraordinary attempt to integrate the rapacious exploitation of a personal colony with a version of 19th-century European kingship."[1]

The celebrated British historian A.J.P. Taylor praised the work, stating: "Anyone who still believes in the white man's burden should read this story of the Congo. It is a story of unmitigated evil."[2]


The 1999 edition (published by Granta books) changed the title of the book slightly to The King Incorporated: Leopold the Second and the Congo, omitting the reference to trusts.


  1. Wroe, Nicholas (12 April 2003). "Neal Ascherson: Romantic nationalist". The Guardian. 
  2. Ascherson, Neal (1999). The King Incorporated. Granta Books. pp. Cover.