A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide

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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction 2003 A shattering history of the last hundred years of genocidal war that itemises in authoritative, persuasive manner exactly what the West knew and when, and what it chose to do, and what not to do, with that knowledge. Winner of the US National Book Critics Circle Award 'The United States has never in its history intervened to stop genocide and has in fact rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred.' In this convincing and ...

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historygeek612of4783

Aug 12, 2009

Failures of the 20th Century

The comedian Eddie Izzard, in his "Dress to Kill" performance, manages to have a very funny but biting look at genocide, saying, among other things, that we don't seem to have a problem with governments killing their own people. "We've been trying to kill you for years," he cracks.

Samantha Power's book gives a sweeping overview of the times we have attempted to intervene in internal genocides, as well as discussing the Holocaust. I love this book, but it's so depressing I had to take it one horror at a time with extended breaks between atrocities.

Power does a fabulous job of looking at the bipartisan faliures of the US in dealing with genocide, starting with the Armenian massacres of the early 20th century and working her way through Kosovo, where she was an eyewitness to various events.

Not all is doom and gloom, however. Power makes recommendations for better strategies of dealing with genocide without becoming overly entangled in the internal politics of the nation involved. I found it cheering when I saw Power was one of the people who testified before Congress regarding Darfur, and it seems as a people we may actually learn something from her.

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