The second edition of this compelling book will continue to spark interest and vigorous debate, appealing to students and scholars across the social sciences and in international law.
For thirty years Ben Kiernan has been deeply involved in the study of genocide and crimes against humanity. He has played a key role in unearthing confidential documentation of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. His writings have transformed our understanding not only of twentieth-century Cambodia but also of the historical phenomenon of genocide. This new book—the first global history of genocide and extermination from ancient times—is among his most important achievements.
Kiernan examines outbreaks of mass violence from the classical era to the present, focusing on worldwide colonial exterminations and twentieth-century case studies including the Armenian genocide, the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin’s mass murders, and the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides. He identifies connections, patterns, and features that in nearly every case gave early warning of the catastrophe to come: racism or religious prejudice, territorial expansionism, and cults of antiquity and agrarianism. The ideologies that have motivated perpetrators of mass killings in the past persist in our new century, says Kiernan. He urges that we heed the rich historical evidence with its telltale signs for predicting and preventing future genocides.
Rummel divides the published estimates on which he bases his conclusions into eight historical periods, such as the Civil War, collectivization, and World War II. The estimates are further divided into agents of death, such as terrorism, deportations, and famine. Using statistical principles developed from more than 25 years of quantitative research on nations, he analyzes the estimates. In the collectivization period, for example, about 11,440,000 people were murdered. During World War II, while the Soviet Union had lost almost 20,000,000 in the war, the Party was killing even more of its citizens and foreigners-probably an additional 13,053,000. For each period, he defines, counts, and totals the sources of death. He shows that Soviet forced labor camps were the major engine of death, probably killing 39,464,000 prisoners overall.
To give meaning and depth to these figures, Rummel compares them to the death toll from'major wars, world disasters, global genocide, deaths from cancer and other diseases, and the like. In these and other ways, Rummel goes well beyond the bare bones of statistical analysis and tries to provide understanding of this incredible toll of human lives. Why were these people killed? What was the political and social context? How can we understand it? These and other questions are addressed in a compelling historical narrative.
This definitive book will be of interest to Soviet experts, those interested in the study of genocide and violence, peace researchers, and students of comparative politics and society. Written without jargon, its statistics are confined to appendixes, and the general reader can profitably read the book without losing the essence of the findings, which are selectively repeated in the narrative.
A comprehensive analysis demonstrating how whole societies come to support the practice of genocide.
"Alex Alvarez has produced an exceptionally comprehensive and useful analysis of modern genocide... [It] is perhaps the most important interdisciplinary account to appear since Zygmunt Bauman's classic work, Modernity and the Holocaust."
-- Stephen Feinstein, Director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
"Alex Alvarez has written a first-rate propaedeutic on the running sore of genocide. The singular merit of the work is its capacity to integrate a diverse literature in a fair-minded way and to take account of genocides in the post-Holocaust environment ranging from Cambodia to Serbia. The work reveals patterns of authoritarian continuities of repression and rule across cultures that merit serious and widespread public concern." -- Irving Louis Horowitz, Rutgers University
More people have been killed in 20th-century genocides than in all wars and revolutions in the same period. Recent events in countries such as Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia have drawn attention to the fact that genocide is a pressing contemporary problem, one that has involved the United States in varying negotiating and peace-keeping roles. Genocide is increasingly recognized as a threat to national and international security, as well as a source of tremendous human suffering and social devastation.
Governments, Citizens, and Genocide views the crime of genocide through the lens of social science. It discusses the problem of defining genocide and then examines it from the levels of the state, the organization, and the individual. Alex Alvarez offers both a skillful synthesis of the existing literature on genocide and important new insights developed from the study of criminal behavior. He shows that governmental policies and institutions in genocidal states are designed to suppress the moral inhibitions of ordinary individuals.
By linking different levels of analysis, and comparing a variety of cases, the study provides a much more complex understanding of genocide than have prior studies. Based on lessons drawn from his analysis, Alvarez offers an important discussion of the ways in which genocide might be anticipated and prevented.
Alex Alvarez is Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University. His primary research interests are minorities, crime, and criminal justice, as well as collective and interpersonal violence. He is author of articles in Journal of Criminal Justice, Social Science History, and Sociological Imagination and is currently writing a book on patterns of American murder.
240 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, bibl., index
cloth 0-253-33849-2 $29.95 s / £22.95
The Age of Genocide
A Crime By Any Other Name
With suggestions for further reading, discussion questions at the end of each chapter and a glossary of key terms, Genocide: The Basics is the ideal starting point for students approaching the topic for the first time.
In this national bestseller, the critically acclaimed author Peter Balakian brings us a riveting narrative of the massacres of the Armenians in the 1890s and of the Armenian Genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Using rarely seen archival documents and remarkable first-person accounts, Balakian presents the chilling history of how the Turkish government implemented the first modern genocide behind the cover of World War I. And in the telling, he resurrects an extraordinary lost chapter of American history.
Awarded the Raphael Lemkin Prize for the best scholarly book on genocide by the Institute for Genocide Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY Graduate Center.
Forgotten Genocides: Oblivion, Denial, and Memory gathers eight essays about genocidal conflicts that are unremembered and, as a consequence, understudied. The contributors, scholars in political science, anthropology, history, and other fields, seek to restore these mass killings to the place they deserve in the public consciousness. Remembrance of long forgotten crimes is not the volume's only purpose—equally significant are the rich quarry of empirical data offered in each chapter, the theoretical insights provided, and the comparative perspectives suggested for the analysis of genocidal phenomena. While each genocide is unique in its circumstances and motives, the essays in this volume explain that deliberate concealment and manipulation of the facts by the perpetrators are more often the rule than the exception, and that memory often tends to distort the past and blame the victims while exonerating the killers.
Although the cases discussed here are but a sample of a litany going back to biblical times, Forgotten Genocides offers an important examination of the diversity of contexts out of which repeatedly emerge the same hideous realities.
In order to capture the full scope of mass killing during the twentieth century, Valentino does not limit his analysis to violence directed against ethnic groups, or to the attempt to destroy victim groups as such, as do most previous studies of genocide. Rather, he defines mass killing broadly as the intentional killing of a massive number of noncombatants, using the criteria of 50,000 or more deaths within five years as a quantitative standard.
Final Solutions focuses on three types of mass killing: communist mass killings like the ones carried out in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia; ethnic genocides as in Armenia, Nazi Germany, and Rwanda; and "counter-guerrilla" campaigns including the brutal civil war in Guatemala and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Valentino closes the book by arguing that attempts to prevent mass killing should focus on disarming and removing from power the leaders and small groups responsible for instigating and organizing the killing.
Employing a novel approach to ethics in practice and in relationship to international organizations, Barnett offers an unsettling possibility: the UN culture recast the ethical commitments of well-intentioned individuals, arresting any duty to aid at the outset of the genocide. Barnett argues that the UN bears some moral responsibility for the genocide. Particularly disturbing is his observation that not only did the UN violate its moral responsibilities, but also that many in New York believed that they were "doing the right thing" as they did so. Barnett addresses the ways in which the Rwandan genocide raises a warning about this age of humanitarianism and concludes by asking whether it is possible to build moral institutions.
According to Scott Straus, a social scientist and former journalist in East Africa for several years (who received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his reporting for the Houston Chronicle), many of the widely held beliefs about the causes and course of genocide in Rwanda are incomplete. They focus largely on the actions of the ruling elite or the inaction of the international community. Considerably less is known about how and why elite decisions became widespread exterminatory violence.
Challenging the prevailing wisdom, Straus provides substantial new evidence about local patterns of violence, using original research—including the most comprehensive surveys yet undertaken among convicted perpetrators—to assess competing theories about the causes and dynamics of the genocide. Current interpretations stress three main causes for the genocide: ethnic identity, ideology, and mass-media indoctrination (in particular the influence of hate radio). Straus's research does not deny the importance of ethnicity, but he finds that it operated more as a background condition. Instead, Straus emphasizes fear and intra-ethnic intimidation as the primary drivers of the violence. A defensive civil war and the assassination of a president created a feeling of acute insecurity. Rwanda's unusually effective state was also central, as was the country's geography and population density, which limited the number of exit options for both victims and perpetrators.
In conclusion, Straus steps back from the particulars of the Rwandan genocide to offer a new, dynamic model for understanding other instances of genocide in recent history—the Holocaust, Armenia, Cambodia, the Balkans—and assessing the future likelihood of such events.
Rather than suggesting that such horrors are the product of abnormal or criminal minds, the authors emphasize the normality of these horrors: killing by category has occurred on every continent and in every century. But genocide is much less common than the imbalance of power that makes it possible. Throughout history human societies have developed techniques aimed at limiting intergroup violence. Incorporating ethnographic, historical, and current political evidence, this book examines the mechanisms of constraint that human societies have employed to temper partisan passions and reduce carnage.
Might an understanding of these mechanisms lead the world of the twenty-first century away from mass murder? Why Not Kill Them All? makes clear that there are no simple solutions, but that progress is most likely to be made through a combination of international pressures, new institutions and laws, and education. If genocide is to become a grisly relic of the past, we must fully comprehend the complex history of violent conflict and the struggle between hatred and tolerance that is waged in the human heart.
In a new preface, the authors discuss recent mass violence and reaffirm the importance of education and understanding in the prevention of future genocides.