In September 1910 the 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 recognizable scenario. He uncovered an appalling catalogue of abuse: nearly 30,000 Indians had died to produce four thousand tons 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.
Praise for The Rattlesnake
“Goodman’s account of the painstaking, dangerous soundings, calculations and surveying operation carried out aboard a ship that might run aground at any moment is gripping stuff & [his] account is so tense it reads more like something from a thriller than a history.” — Literary Review
“Invaluable … Goodman conjures the creak of the mast as canvas strained to breaking point, the seething scrabble of decks alive with cockroaches, and the thrill of a sparkling tropical sea after months of privation.” — The Times
“Jordan Goodman has produced an account which will be invaluable to future historians of the period.” — Daily Telegraph
Jordan Goodman’s books include The Rattlesnake: A Voyage of Discovery to the Coral Sea. He has published extensively on the history of medicine and science, and in cultural and economic history. He is an Honorary Research Associate at the Wellcome Trust Centre, University College, London.