The Devil and Mr Casement

The Devil and Mr Casement:One Man’s Struggle for Human Rights in South America’s Heart of Darkness

  • Paperback

Untold story of one of the most horrifying crimes of the twentieth century

In September 1910, the human rights activist and anti-imperialist Roger Casement arrived in the Amazon to investigate reports of widespread human rights abuses in the vast forests stretching along the Putumayo river. There, the Peruvian entrepreneur Julio César Arana ran an area the size of Belgium as his own private fiefdom; his British registered company operated a systematic programme of torture, exploitation and murder. Fresh from documenting the scarcely imaginable atrocities perpetrated by King Leopold in the Congo, Casement was confronted with an all too recognisable scenario. He uncovered an appalling catalogue of abuse: nearly 30,000 Indians had died to produce four thousand tonnes of rubber.

From the Peruvian rainforests to the City of London, Jordan Goodman recounts a crime against humanity that history has almost forgotten, but whose exposure in 1912 sent shockwaves around the world. Drawing on a wealth of original research, The Devil and Mr Casement is a story of colonial exploitation and corporate greed with enormous contemporary political resonance.


  • A fine and meticulous book.

    Greg GrandinNew York Times
  • Meticulously researched ... A riveting, if harrowing, narrative which, in its treatment of corporate greed and exploitation, is full of contemporary resonance. A rich, moving, important book.

    David EvansIndependent on Sunday
  • Quirky, passionate, deeply idealistic, Roger Casement is one of the most fascinating characters of the early twentieth century. At last, this forgotten episode of his career gets the attention it deserves, in a fine book that is both immensely readable and carefully documented.

    Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost