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Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Ben Kiernan(Author)

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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.

'Humans have been slaughtering each other for thousands of years, but only now is the field of genocide studies blooming. This grim account of history notes remarkable parallels in the patterns of mass slaughter, from Carthage to Darfur. With references to the genocides sanctioned by the Bible, it's ghastly reading. Yet you also can't help feeling a measure of progress over the centuries. Today, we're still far too passive about stopping genocide, but even those leaders who engage in it tend to be embarrassed, rather than boastful.' --Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Historical Society series 'Books That Matter,' New York Times Book Review'In exploring the global 'prehistory' of the horrific forms of societal violence usually associated with the twentieth century, Kiernan identifies key factors that have been consistently associated with genocidal episodes. His book makes an original contribution to our understanding of the phenomenon.' --Michael Adas, Rutgers University'Ben Kiernan's 'Blood and Soil' is a major work explaining myths and metaphors that have underwritten genocide for six hundred years earlier within the bowels of the western tradition; now commonplace practice far beyond that tradition. In seeing genocide as linked to issues of land as well as race, nation, and expansion, Kiernan has opened up social, political, and economic analysis to the struggle for land and the control of property. Such an approach is unique as it is provocative. It is inspired by the author s profound reading of Cambodia and Southeast Asia. 'Blood and Soil' provides an angle of vision rarely found in those who start (and stop) with a European base of scholarship. The book opens up new questions and formulations on the nature of state inspired murder. It merits a close reading of the dark side of terror, often commented upon, but rarely probed.' --Irving Louis Horowitz, Rutgers University

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Book details

  • PDF | 768 pages
  • Ben Kiernan(Author)
  • Yale University Press; First Printing edition (14 Sept. 2007)
  • English
  • 4
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Review Text

  • By Shane Hyde on 2 January 2012

    In Blood and Sand, Ben Kiernan has written a very comprehensive and thorough history of genocide which examines many of the less well reported exterminations as well as the more famous ones. He attempts to find recurring causes of genocide and identifies four ideological features - antiquity, agrarianism, racism, and expansionism - which have motivated most perpetrators. He also shows how almost every nation has at one time or another committed these awful atrocities, including how the USA has supported military dictatorships overseas.This book is a great achievement, compiling an over-whelming amount of information, which makes it an excellent reference book. But where it fails for me is that it is 600 pages of hard work, mainly because it is written in a very academic style which makes it quite dry and cold reading.Kiernan's research skills are excellent, his writing skills and his attempt to find common causes is not so strong. I was waiting for a great conclusion that made a strong attempt at defining that side of human beings that makes us commit or support these acts, but it didnt come. It's very easy to look at these crimes as being committed by 'others' but I know that it's always there within us, we are all made of the same stuff.


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