Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Books on Genocide

A reader recently asked if I'd tell about books which are on my reading list. Here are two which have been mentioned online this week.

Daniel Blatman, a friend and colleague, author of The Death Marches: The Final Phase of Nazi Genocide
is reviewed in Der Spiegel (in English). Blatman is a solid researcher, and he worked on this book for many years. I'll hazard the guess his is the most scholarly and serious book on the Holocaust to come out this year, and I look forward to its generating a lot of discussion. As the review shows, it offers lots to discuss, about how ordinary Germans participated in mass murder, at the very end of the 2nd WW, when there was a world of incentive not to. (h/t Silke and Norm, both)

Adam Hochschild is the author of the most important book about the first genocide in Belgium, King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. (That was the genocide that inspired Heart of Darkness). This week Hochschild has published a story on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. He doesn't say the assassination led directly to the second genocide in the Congo, the one that may still be happening, because that wouldn't be a sufficient explanation, but he is bleak about the whole thing.

Books and articles to keep things in proportion. These are stories about men and women at their very worst.


Silke said...

alas amazon told me, that Blatman's book has been out in English for a year and I haven't noticed a splash - let's hope this new for Anglos review helps.
as to King Leopold - I finally found a version of Mark Twain's piece on Leopold online that I could print out in readable format


Silke said...

OT but not far


'We Have to Be Constantly on Guard'
The general secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed
Jalili, talks to SPIEGEL about allegations that Israel assassinated
nuclear scientists in Tehran, the dangers of waging cyber warfare
against Iran's nuclear facilities and the West's false expectations for
upcoming negotiations in Istanbul.


with what he says about the negotiations any self-respecting person should let him sit alone at the table - my compassion to all the diplomats who for whatever reason have to endure being ridiculed that way.