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The Specter of Genocide
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511055430 | ISBN-10: 0511055439)

Genocide, mass murder and human rights abuses are arguably the most perplexing and deeply troubling aspects of recent world history. This collection of essays by leading international experts offers an up-to-date, comprehensive history and analyses of multiple cases of genocide and genocidal acts, with a focus on the twentieth century. The book contains studies of the Armenian genocide, the victims of Stalinist terror, the Holocaust, and Imperial Japan. Several authors explore colonialism and address the fate of the indigenous peoples in Africa, North America, and Australia. As well, there is extensive coverage of the post-1945 period, including the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia, Bali, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, East Timor, and Guatemala. The book emphasizes the importance of comparative analysis and theoretical discussion, and it raises new questions about the difficult challenges for modernity constituted by genocide and other mass crimes.

• First book offering an up-to-date, comprehensive history and analyses of multiple cases of genocide • Particular focus on the twentieth century • Includes analysis on the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia, Bali, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, East Timor and Guatemala


1. Introduction Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan; Part I. Genocide and Modernity: 2. Twentieth century genocides: underlying ideological themes from Armenia to East Timor Ben Kiernan; 3. The modernity of genocides: war, race, and revolution in the twentieth century Eric D. Weitz; 4. Seeking the roots of modern genocide: on the macro- and micro-history of mass murder Omer Bartov; 5. Genocide and the body politic in the time of modernity Marie Fleming; Part II: Indigenous Peoples and Colonial Issues: 6. Indigenous peoples genocide: rhetoric of human rights Elazar Barkan; 7. Military culture and the production of 'final solutions' in the colonies: the example of Wilhelminian Germany Isabel V. Hull; 8. East Timor: counter-insurgency and genocide John G. Taylor; Part III. The Era of the Two World Wars: 9. Under cover of war: the Armenian genocide in the context of total war Jay Winter; 10. The mechanism of a mass crime: the 'great terror' in the Soviet Union, 1937–1938 Nicolas Werth; 11. The third reich, the Holocaust and visions of serial genocide Robert Gellately; 12. Reflections on modern Japanese history in the context of the concept of 'genocide' Gavan McCormack; Part IV. Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1945: 13. 'When the world turned to chaos': 1965 and its aftermath in Bali, Indonesia Leslie Dwyer and Degung Santikarma; 14. Genocide in Cambodia and Ethiopia Edward Kissi; 15. Modern genocide in Rwanda: ideology, revolution, war, and mass murder in an African state Robert Melson; 16. History, motive, law, intent: combining historical and legal methods in understanding Guatemala's 1981–1983 genocide Greg Grandin; 17. Analysis of a mass crime: ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, 1991–1999 Jacques Semelin; Part V. Conclusions: 18. The specter of genocide Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan.


'… extraordinarily informative … Recommended as a companion to classic titles like Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem.' Publishers Weekly

'Kiernan and Gellately have assembled a stellar group of academics to produce a first-rate book usefully balanced between theory and case studies and focusing on the 55 years since the UN genocide convention was adopted … Highly recommended.' Choice

'This book is a starting point for those who wish to learn more about the complexities of the genocide debate.' Military Review

'… includes a number of important and interesting selections on some of the lesser known-cases of genocide.' Ethnic and Racial Studies

'The editors of The Specter of Genocide offer a geographical and chronologically wide-ranging volume, assimilating a vairety of topics better than many edited volumes. Readers will especially appreciate the theortetical overview they provide.' Holocaust & Genocide Studies

'… useful comments on general aspects of genocide and near genocide: an obsession with purity and pollution on the part of the persecutors, the holding of power by military groups who are unrestrained by civilian politicians or public opinion, revolutionary governments transforming society, and peasantism, the idealization of the rooted cultivator of the soil.' Morality


Robert Gellately, Ben Kiernan, Elazar Barkan, Omer Bartov, Leslie Dwyer, Marie Fleming, Greg Grandin, Isabel V. Hull, Edward Kissi, Gavan McCormack, Robert Melson, Degung Santikarma, Jacques Semelin, John G. Taylor, Eric D. Weitz, Nicolas Werth, Jay Winter

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