Extraordinary Evil: A Short Walk to Genocide

Extraordinary Evil: A Short Walk to Genocide

by Barbara Coloroso
     
 

From best-selling author Barbara Coloroso comes a timely and essential book about genocide. Through an examination of three clearly defined genocides — the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, and the European Holocaust — Coloroso deconstructs the causes and consequences, both to its immediate victims and to the fabric of the world at large, and proposes the

Overview

From best-selling author Barbara Coloroso comes a timely and essential book about genocide. Through an examination of three clearly defined genocides — the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, and the European Holocaust — Coloroso deconstructs the causes and consequences, both to its immediate victims and to the fabric of the world at large, and proposes the conditions that must exist in order to eradicate this evil from the world. Coloroso is well known for her best-selling books that explore why children bully. In Extraordinary Evil she builds upon that research to explain why the impulse to bully is mirrored by the act of genocide. By linking the psychology of the bully to the motivation that leads a community to murder, Coloroso provides devastating and vital insight into why people kill their neighbors. Based on the author's 15 years of research and extensive travel, Extraordinary Evil is an urgently needed work in an age when acts of genocide seem to occur more frequently and are in the public's consciousness more than ever before.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Placing genocidal campaigns at the extreme on a spectrum of bullying that begins in socialization's earliest stages, Coloroso (The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander) seeks to strengthen the legal and moral prevention of genocide and to improve humanitarian intervention. Analyzing the plight of the Armenians; the Jews, Roma and Sinti; and Rwandan Tutsis, she marshals solid studies, victim and perpetrator testimonies, as well as her own expertise as a nationally recognized speaker on conflict resolution. Her discussion of problems of definition, political will, and social and psychological persuasion are useful, but her argument can be tedious, despite graphic and distressing detail. Drawing heavily and only semiconvincingly on her earlier child-centered work, Coloroso has a tendency to rely on Power Point-style lists, brusquely contextualized quotations and even a cartoon-illustrated flowchart of bullies and their enablers. Her generalizations can be disturbing-for example, when she suggests Rwanda's colonial past plays no role in the current violence, despite contrary arguments from Mahmood Mamdani and others not cited here. Coloroso's checklist of genocidal prerequisites can also blur into other acts of state-sponsored or condoned aggression and exploitation. This book provides entry into a vital dialogue, but should be considered at best a beginning. (Sept.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Or, when bad things happen to good peoples: an educator's explanation, predictably oversimplified, of what causes one ethnic group to massacre another one. If you want to know why people do such things, look at a schoolyard, where, Coloroso (The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, 2004, etc.) suggests, it's easy to find the precursors of genocide. That is to say, genocide is "the most extreme form of bullying-a far too common behavior that is learned in childhood and rooted in contempt for another human being who has been deemed to be, by the bully and his or her accomplices, worthless, inferior, and undeserving of respect." The historical literature is unrevealing as to whether, say, Adolf Hitler beat up his schoolmates at recess, but, Coloroso notes, the Turks slaughtered the Armenians because, among other things, they were sure they could get away with it; Hitler emulated the Turks in slaughtering the Jews, saying, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"; and the Hutus of Rwanda emulated Hitler in slaughtering the Tutsi, modeling their campaign on the Nuremburg Laws and carefully citing the speeches of the Nazi leader. The chain suggests that the perpetrators of genocide have a greater sense of history and of historical amnesia than do most people, but Coloroso chalks such terrible acts up to a grown-up reflex of what she deems the "schoolyard bullying circle," something that, she writes, she uses "when speaking to educators . . . to demonstrate in graphic form the manner in which the three characters (bully, bullied and bystander) act in relation to one another and play a part in bullying." And so the book continues, adding up to a PowerPointpresentation for a guidance counselors' convention. For a vastly more substantial approach, see Samantha Power's "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide (2002).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568583716
Publisher:
Nation Books
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Coloroso is an internationally recognized speaker and author in the areas of parenting, teaching, school discipline, nonviolent conflict resolution, reconciliatory justice, and grieving. Her bestselling books include Parenting through Crisis; The Bully, The Bullied, and the Bystander; and Kids Are Worth It!.

A former Franciscan nun, she now lives with her husband and three teenagers in Littleton, Colorado.

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