Mass Hate explores why the brutality of humankind erupted and flowed more expansively in the twentieth century than ever before. Psychologist Neil Kressel recommends specific steps to help stem this bloody global tide of slaughter, terror and genocide. In his investigation, Kressel focuses on the horrifying butchery in Rwanda, the terrifying tactics of rape and torture of women in Bosnia, the systematic murder of Jews and others during the Holocaust. He examines history, psychology, and political science for explanations of what propels a citizen to raise a machete against innocent neighbors, and, in a moving conclusion, suggests practical ways for humankind to eradicate the causes of mass hate. Now included in the preface is a discussion of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, on New York and the Pentagon.
Mass Hate is very well suited as a springboard for lecturing in undergraduate social psychology seminars...and worth reading-especially for those unfamiliar with the literature on authoritarianism and genocide.
Kressel has a jeweler's eye for deflating grandiose conjecture....On Nazi Germany he is especially strong. He treats landmark research—from Hannah Arendt's 'banality of evil' thesis to the obedience studies of Stanley Milgram-respectfully but not reverentially. It is easy to develop confidence in the author's discernment.
Neil Kressel's book is a masterly analysis of ...(the) problem and of how the new tide of mass hatred around the world might best be turned back.
Not since Wilhelm Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism has there been anything as penetrating on the subject. Neil Kressel's analysis of stereotyping and ethnocentrism, and their terrible consequences, both in the past and present, is arresting, frightening, and convincing.
His prose is moving and accessible, without in any way minimizing the complexity of the issues. Mass Hate helps us understand the darkest recesses of human nature.
In this story, September 11th was only the crest of this century's rising tide of terror and genocide fueled by mass hatred. Early on, Kressel's summary of Islam sheds some light on fundamentalist interpretations of the Koran and how they contributed to the atrocities in New York and Washington, D.C. But lest we think that wiping out mutant Muslims will solve the problem, he goes on to say "...the raw materials of mass hate can be found in almost every society on Earth, often in plentiful supply." Foreshadowing his predilections, he admits "No study of mass hate can conclude optimistically." His prolific list of mass murders, perpetrators, detailed descriptions of "ethnic cleansing" and "psychosexual destruction" (modern euphenisms for mass rape, murder, evisceration and other acts of unspeakable brutality performed in front of victims' spouses and children) supports his thesis that the world has become a cornucopia of mass hate. Halfway through the book one wishes for the Shakespearean admonition of "less telling and more told." Mass Hate is not for the faint of heart. Nor can we take heart, according to Kressel, that the problem of serial genocide will soon be resolved, principally because "ethnocentrism, obedient personalities, prejudice, stereotyping, dogmatism, intolerance for ambiguity"—defining characteristics that lead to the formation of mass murderers—are also "in plentiful supply." Kressel tells us, "Only the relentless pursuit of perpetrators" and the spread of democracy ("no democracy has ever made war on another democracy") hold any promise of reducing this global scourge on humanity. KLIATT Codes: A—Recommended for advanced students and adults. 2002, Perseus,Westview, 312p. notes. index.,
— William Kircher
Neil J. Kressel, Ph.D., a social psychologist at William Paterson University of New Jersey, has taught at Harvard, New York University, and elsewhere. He is also the author of Mass Hate: The Global Rise of Genocide and Terror (Westview Press). Dorit F. Kressel, J.D., is a practicing attorney in New Jersey. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Kressel served as a law clerk to the New Jersey Supreme Court.The authors reside in Wayne, New Jersey with their children, Sam and Hannah.