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Why Not Kill Them All?
The Logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder
Daniel Chirot & Clark McCauley
With a new preface by the authors

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [HTML] or [PDF format]


"Daniel Chirot's professional role as a professor of sociology and international studies places him in an excellent position to examine the patterns of mass violence. Similarly, Clark McCauley's study of ethnic conflict and work as a psychology professor provide a necessary lens through which to view and analyze the prevention of mass murder. The perspectives of this book add pertinent insight to the existing literature on genocide."--Rachel Ray Steele, International Journal on World Peace

"Well written, interesting, informative, and balanced. Students in an introductory course in ethnic conflict in sociology, political science, or social psychology will find it helpful."--Djordje Stefanovic, Canadian Journal of Sociology

"Why Not Kill Them All? provides a valuable analysis of causes, conditions and strategies for the prevention of genocide and opens up an intriguing area for further work."--Benjamin Lieberman, Patterns of Prejudice


"Why Not Kill Them All? is an excellent book that adopts a fresh and complex approach to the problem of mass killings. In a study that ranges widely around the globe and through history, Chirot and McCauley demonstrate that genocides and other large-scale atrocities are relatively rare events. The human capacity for evil is deep-seated, the authors argue, but so is our inclination to settle conflicts amicably. The ties that bind us together are at least as strong as the forces that always threaten to rupture human connections. The challenge is to foster the social, cultural, and political tendencies that lead to cohesion rather than conflict. In their conclusion, the authors develop a set of powerful recommendations that students, policymakers, and concerned citizens will all want to consider."--Eric D. Weitz, Professor of History, University of Minnesota, author of A Century of Genocide

"In recent years a parade of social commentators has grappled with the question of the causes of mass killing and genocide. But none of these researchers have brought the breadth of historical and sociological comparison to the issue that Chirot and McCauley do. None has delved as deeply into the social psychology that rationalizes violence. A brilliant synthesis of psychology and historical sociology, this book breaks new ground in the study of mass violence. Troubling and yet hopeful, the book will appeal to specialists as well as the general reader trying to make sense of one of the most morally perplexing issues of our age."--Robert Hefner, Professor of Anthropology, Boston University

"In this wide-ranging book, Daniel Chirot and Clark McCauley make an important contribution to our understanding of genocide and other atrocities by seeking to explain why these tragic events are not more common. By posing this counterintuitive question the authors remind us that although genocide remains far more frequent than we might hope, it is in fact remarkably rare compared to the innumerable motives and opportunities that exist for violence between human social groups. In uncovering the mechanisms already in place in most societies that act to mitigate such violence, they help point the way to making genocide even less common in the future."--Ben Valentino, Dartmouth College, author of Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century

"In their new book, Chirot and McCauley bring to bear on the issue of mass murder a rich ethnographic literature dealing with the ubiquitous subject of violence in society. In particular, they draw the attention of readers to various institutions and practices that emerged in collective life to control violence. Why Not Kill Them All? is bound to become a standard text in university classes addressing the subject of genocide and mass political murder."--Jan T. Gross, author of Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland

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File created: 4/21/2017

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