4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A life-changing book,
This review is from: Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction (Paperback)
I met the author by chance when traveling in West Africa. We had such interesting discussions that I decided to read his magnum opus, and I'm so glad I did. This book should be essential reading for anyone interested in understanding genocide. It has been written both for academic students of genocide and as an introduction for the general reader. It achieves that rare goal of being both extremely readable and academically rigorous: it does full justice to the multi-dimensional nature of genocide without seeming overwhelmingly complex. This may sound like a cliché, but the book really is an outstanding piece of scholarship. Genocide studies is a very young social science, and this book provides the core text, supplemented by internet-based resources, documenting and defining the current state of the discipline.
Of course, a fundamental problem with writing about genocide is how to deal with the almost unremitting horror of describing the most evil acts humankind has committed. This book attempts to mitigate that horror by including some success stories - examples of multi-ethnic communities that have developed strategies for avoiding internal conflict, and countries that have built peaceful, post-genocidal societies. Even more important in avoiding despair is Adam Jones' consistent tone of optimism that genocide can be understood and, eventually, prevented. He also makes clear that this is not something that should just be left to UN peace-keepers. There is a role for every one of us - as individuals, as citizen journalists, as members of advocacy groups, or as supporters of charities and NGOs - in eradicating this appalling blight.