2022 Cundill History Prize Short-list
Professor JP Daughton's In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Ocean Railrod and the Tragedy of French Colonialism (W.W. Norton 2021) is one of the eight books that are short-listed for the 2022 Cundill History Prize.
In the Forest of No Joy tells the story of one of the deadliest construction projects in history. Between 1921 and 1934, French colonial interests recruited -- most often by force -- more than 100,000 men, women, and children to work on a 500-kilometer stretch of rail between Brazzaville and the Atlantic Coast. In the end, tens of thousands of Africans were dead, killed by mistreatment, starvation, and disease. Daughton painstakingly recounts the experiences of local communities in the face of colonial economic development, considers why the railroad witnessed such extraordinary violence and suffering, and explores how the rhetoric of "civilization" and "development" were used to justify the loss of so many African lives.
The Cundill History Prize recognizes and rewards the best history writing in English. Administered by McGill University in Montreal and awarded by a distinguished jury, the Cundill History Prize aims to encourage informed public debate through the wider dissemination of history writing to new audiences around the world. Read more about the 2022 Cundill Prize Shortlist at this link.