Get 'Em All! Kill 'Em!: Genocide, Terrorism, Righteous Communities

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"To think about genocide and terrorism is to accept an invitation from hell. In fact, hell may be too benign a term, since it makes a kind of sense out of genocide and terrorism and ultimately raises the questions: What is genocide? What sense does it make to kill or disable all members of another group just because they are members of that other group - men, women, children? What sense can we make of genocide? The very meaning of sense threatens to disintegrate." Get 'Em All! Kill 'Em! is the first systematic attempt to understand what, up until now, has seemed inexplicable. Bruce Wilshire uncovers what seems to be the deepest root of the genocidal urge: disgust and dread in the face of abounding, fecund life itself - swarming, creeping, scurrying, unboundable, and uncontrollable. If his claims about the genocidal urge are true, genocide and terrorism are the ultimate antiecology.
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Editorial Reviews

This is a provocative, stimulating read. Highly recommended.
Political Studies Review
Wilshire's book is not only a good essay on genocide and terrorism, but also an invitation to be intellectually prepared for countering fundamentalism. 2007
George Atwood
Bruce Wilshire's interpretation of the genocidal impulse as a response to the threat of the annihilation of an organized group's whole cultural world is compelling and profound. Get 'Em All! Kill 'Em! will be of enormous interest to all those who are committed to understanding the experience of being human.
Glen A. Mazis
Wilshire has taken what most people feel is unfathomable—genocide and terrorism—and illuminated the web of dark forces that can explode forth into such heinous acts. He allows us to see how the cycles of suffering and anxiety work through our collective bodies and group symbolism to trap us all within a nightmare of violence and further suffering. Yet, he doesn't stop there, as he also shows how we can awake from this nightmare through an unconventional sense of the sacred, a way of boundary crossing found within nature, and a different attunement to the universe. Bravo for thinking through "the unthinkable!"
This is a provocative, stimulating read. Highly recommended.
Edward S. Casey
Bruce Wilshire's book Get 'Em All! Kill 'Em! is a fascinating and important study of issues that could not be more crucial to our perilous times. . . . I know of no other study that looks to these utterly concrete, yet very elusive, roots of the major destructive actions of the last one hundred years, continuing to this day. It should stand by itself as a book that will draw a lot of attention from the reading public as well as from academics who know WIlshire's previously published distinguished work.
Calvin O. Schrag
Already well on his way with Wild Hunger; in Get 'Em All! Kill 'Em! we find the distinctively original discursive style and thematic substance of Bruce Wilshire. The engaging entwinement of style and provocative, thought-provoking content just carried me along to the end. A remarkable achievement!
David Abram
It is not only the deceptively simple and lucid theory of genocide that we must honor here, but the way in which Wilshire gradually densifies and intensifies the theory, drawing us inexorably into the dark heart of the world’s polarized present, at the sharp tooth-edge of history and of our own possible extinction.
John Lachs
This is philosophy that matters: soaring thought on a vital topic expressed in an accessible, elegant style. Not everyone will agree with Wilshire's understanding of genocide, but everyone needs to be familiar with it. Wilshire is one of a vanishing breed of public intellectuals who addresses the mind of our community and appeals to its conscience. Must reading.
Edward F. Mooney
Wilshire is a prophet of disaster and a child with saving news. We find deep insight in this book — from the Qur’an and the Gospels, from Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and William James. We learn from Emerson, that great “optimist,” that along side a human hope is a persisting, sudden, strange-uncanny — say the bare existence of rats and lizards, who are no less a part of our surround than its more noted inhabitants, and alien enough to challenge our grip on those basal human comforts – hope, understanding, health: for what are these to crawling things...? Of course, this is a book, as the title says, on genocide and terror. But it’s also about compassion, crucifixion, King Lear, "poor forked creatures," Black Elk; it lives with that ancient epigraph on our lives: "many are the wonders and terrors, but none more wonderful (and terrible) than we. " It delivers an embodied human spirit, high and low and mediocre, in the flow and out of it, getting ice cream and wrestling with the unspeakable (which Wilshire so ably bespeaks). He is a philosopher in the spirit of Emerson and James, on the go, rushing at us like a Lion on the plain — then turning like a Greek Chorus to reflect soberly on our plight — then turning lightly to play in the curling surf for the moment numinous, enchanted.
Dr. Thomas Berry
This is an epic study of genocide and terrorism. Congratulations on a superb achievement and hopes for the widest dissemination and discussion of the urgent issues it involves.
Richard Kamber
The prose is forceful, clear, and engaging. The examples are rich, provocative, and far-reaching. Instead of lecturing at his readers. . . . Wilshire invites them to join him in a journey of intellectual exploration. It is philosophical in the admirable tradition of William James. It is an excellent book.
Vine Deloria Jr.
Deep within our souls there is an archetype of genocide that emerges in times of crisis and sears our historical understanding so we no longer acknowledge moral tenets. Wilshire brings together the diverse strands of genocidal events to demonstrate that at our worst we are an embarrassment to the universe.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739112793
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 226
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Wilshire is Senior Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

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Table of Contents

1 Genocide and terrorism 1
2 Specific cases of genocide : Nazi Germany, California Indians 15
3 The everyday illusion of immortality and its disruption 33
4 Further cases of genocide : Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda 57
5 A theory of genocide and terrorism 83
6 Centering-down into the immediate : variations on the theme of genocide 123
7 Thinking the unthinkable? : a religious retardant to genocide and terrorism? 163
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