Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur by Ben KiernanBlood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur by Ben Kiernan

Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur

byBen Kiernan

Paperback | February 17, 2009

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For thirty years Ben Kiernan has been deeply involved in the study of genocide and crimes against humanity. He has played a key role in unearthing confidential documentation of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. His writings have transformed our understanding not only of twentieth-century Cambodia but also of the historical phenomenon of genocide. This new book-the first global history of genocide and extermination from ancient times-is among his most important achievements.

 

Kiernan examines outbreaks of mass violence from the classical era to the present, focusing on worldwide colonial exterminations and twentieth-century case studies including the Armenian genocide, the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin's mass murders, and the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides. He identifies connections, patterns, and features that in nearly every case gave early warning of the catastrophe to come: racism or religious prejudice, territorial expansionism, and cults of antiquity and agrarianism. The ideologies that have motivated perpetrators of mass killings in the past persist in our new century, says Kiernan. He urges that we heed the rich historical evidence with its telltale signs for predicting and preventing future genocides.

Ben Kiernan is the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History, professor of international and area studies, and the founding director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University (www.yale.edu/gsp). His previous books include How Pol Pot Came to Power: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Communism in Cambodia, 1930-1975 and The Pol Pot R...
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Title:Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to DarfurFormat:PaperbackDimensions:768 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 2.1 inPublished:February 17, 2009Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300144253

ISBN - 13:9780300144253

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Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"Humans have been slaughtering each other for thousands of years, but only now is the field of genocide studies blooming. This grim account of history notes remarkable parallels in the patterns of mass slaughter, from Carthage to Darfur. With references to the genocides sanctioned by the Bible, it's ghastly reading. Yet you also can't help feeling a measure of progress over the centuries. Today, we're still far too passive about stopping genocide, but even those leaders who engage in it tend to be embarrassed, rather than boastful."-Nicholas D. Kristof, New-York Historical Society series "Books That Matter," New York Times Book Review "This grim account of history notes remarkable parallels in the patterns of mass slaughter, from Carthage to Darfur. With references to the genocides sanctioned by the Bible, it's ghastly reading. Yet you also can't help feeling a measure of progress over the centuries."-Nicholas D. Kristof, New-York Historical Society series "Books That Matter," New York Times Book Review "A great advancement has been made by Ben Kiernan's monumental new book, Blood and Soil. . . . The author's perspective is global and he is interested in genocide before the twentieth century. . . . This is a comparative and temporal vision that only the world history approach can provide."-A. Dirk Moses, The Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence"Illuminatingly put together, well-narrated and lucidly discussed. A comparison that comes to my mind is James Frazer's The Golden Bough. As was the case with that great classic, no scholar in the field has previously brought together such a wealth of diverse material and imposed consistent order upon it . . . Kiernan brings order-region by region, era by era, reich by reich-to the appalling catalogue of atrocity that he so impressively commands. Moreover, he does so in plain, straightforward, informative prose. . . . This is pioneering work. . . . He has signposted a way towards a global understanding of the curse of genocide. As such, this book could eventually contribute to the saving of lives-possibly countless lives. No other work in the humanities can aspire to that. This is a major achievement."-Patrick Wolfe, Melbourne Age"Remarkable but harrowing . . . the author is forever splicing unexpected and illuminating primary-source threads."-Stephen Saunders, Canberra Times "Kiernan has put a prodigious amount of research into this book, particularly on the colonial massacres, andhe has made a significant contribution to an increasingly important debate."-Tim Johnson, The Australian"This meticulously researched and voluminous book represents a first of sorts. It is the first synthetic, single-authored global history to connect state power and formation to violence through the willful extermination and attempted extermination of peoples. Its reach is not only global, it is alsotemporal, as the book examines violence through time. . . . [T]his work will be essential not only to genocide scholars, but also to historians and regional specialists. . . . Kiernan absolutely shines in some ways as a historian of ideas [and] does an exemplary job of tracing the justificatory texts. . . . Kiernan's synthesis of this material is most impressive. . . . When one reads this book, there will be conceptual and empirical quarrels, but they do not overshadow the success and tremendous value of this book."—Journal of Asian Studies". . . the first synthetic, single-authored global history to connect state power and formation to violence through the willful extermination and attempted extermination of peoples. Its reach is not only global, it is also temporal, as the book examines violence through time."—Journal of Asian Studies"Masterful."—Norman Naimark, The Conversation"With this book, [Kiernan] examines genocide globally, venturing a framework by which genocide may be recognized and analyzed. . . . Covering instances of genocide on every continent . . . Kiernan notes haunting continuities across cultures and time periods. . . . A bold and substantial work of unprecedented scope, this book is international history at its best."-Booklist"Ben Kiernan's Blood and Soil, a meticulous new study of this most slippery of criminal categories . . . highlights the contrast between our conventional and our legalistic definition of genocide by choosing case studies that, with few exceptions, attain the highest standard of vileness. . . . The chapters on the least known of the genocides offer particular value as introductions to overlooked regional histories, and the material on the Nazis and Ottoman Turks nicely situate both those groups within larger contexts of ethnic violence. Each case is written sharply enough to escape the aroma of potted history that sometimes afflicts comparative studies of this type."—Graeme Wood, New York Sun"Ben Kiernan has provided the most extensive history of our genocidal propensities that I have ever read. He starts his history early, with Roman and Greek massacres of barbarians, and works through the Spanish conquest of the Americas, the exterminating vigor of American settlers toward Indians, the Turkish way with the Armenians, the German way with the Jews, Stalin's way with the Ukrainians, the Khmer Rouge's way with the Cambodians, the Serbs' way with the Muslims, the Hutus' way with the Tutsis, and the Sudanese way with the Darfurians. If you want to know how it was done, where and when it was done, and how many victims there were, Kiernan has the answers. This is a formidable and important book."-Michael Ignatieff, New Republic"A major research work and reference. . . . An important resource for those interested in studying genocide and in helping to prevent genocide."-George W. Doherty, PsycCRITIQUES"The dismal record of lethal violence that Blood and Soil presents to its readers is therefore a corrective to my own long-standing preference for emphasizing cooperation . . . Surely a well-balanced history of the subtle connections of human cooperation and violence is what we should aim for; and I fear that my books fall short of that ideal. So, despite all my reservations about Blood and Soil, I owe Ben Kiernan a considerable debt."—William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books"Astonishingly broad, well-documented. . . . A landmark in the study of genocide."-Daniel Chirot, Comparative Political Studies"In exploring the global 'prehistory' of the horrific forms of societal violence usually associated with the twentieth century, Kiernan identifies key factors that have been consistently associated with genocidal episodes. His book makes an original contribution to our understanding of the phenomenon."-Michael Adas, Rutgers University"Ben Kiernan’s Blood and Soil is a major work explaining myths and metaphors that have underwritten genocide for six hundred years—earlier within the bowels of the western tradition; now commonplace practice far beyond that tradition. In seeing genocide as linked to issues of land as well as race, nation