Friday, July 22, 2011

I Can't Believe It's Non-fiction Friday (3): The World's Bloodiest History by Joseph Cummins

In a somber survey leavened by sparse but inspiring accounts of heroism, author Joseph Cummins revisits some of the most dreadful and destructive acts of violence in history—from moments of sheer madness and merciless military offensives, such as that of the Spanish conquistadors in 1521 in what is now Mexico City, to clinically orchestrated campaigns of genocide, as took place in early twentieth-century Armenia, Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, and 1970s Cambodia. Engaging, harrowing, and enlightening, his accounts convey the terror and trauma of these incidents while identifying the zealotry, prejudices, and animosities that fueled them, and analyzing, in revealing fashion, their enduring and sometimes insidious influence on history.


Genre: non-fiction; history

Rating: 5/5

This is not a pleasant book, but an important one nonetheless. Covering the world's worst genocides and massacres, the reasons for and impact of such disturbing incidents as the Cambodian genocide to the Sand Creek Massacre are told with enough detail to give understanding without bogging the reader down. There are many pictures documenting the inhumanity of man to man (not explicitly, perhaps, as I've seen much more graphic, but disturbingly enough). It can be depressing if just read the whole way through, but it's important to be aware of these events as even as recently as Rwanda and Bosnia, genocides have been ignored by the world. While this might be a heavy read for teenagers, it's suited to them in the way it is laid out and worded. A very good book on a very dark subject.

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