My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide

My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide

by Jessica Stern

Hardcover

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Overview

An investigation into the nature of violence, terror, and trauma through conversations with a notorious war criminal by Jessica Stern, one of the world's foremost experts on terrorism.

Between October 2014 and November 2016, global terrorism expert Jessica Stern held a series of conversations in a prison cell in The Hague with Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb former politician who had been indicted for genocide and other war crimes during the Bosnian War and who became an inspiration for white nationalists. Though Stern was used to interviewing terrorists in the field in an effort to understand their hidden motives, the conversations she had with Karadzic would profoundly alter her understanding of the mechanics of fear, the motivations of violence, and the psychology of those who perpetrate mass atrocities at a state level and who—like the terrorists she had previously studied—target noncombatants, in violation of ethical norms and international law.

How do leaders persuade ordinary people to kill their neighbors? What is the “ecosystem” that creates and nurtures genocidal leaders? Could anything about their personal histories, personalities, or exposure to historical trauma shed light on the formation of a war criminal’s identity in opposition to a targeted Other?

In My War Criminal, Jessica Stern brings to bear her incisive analysis and her own deeply considered reactions to her interactions with Karadzic, a brilliant and often shockingly charming psychiatrist and poet who spent twelve years in hiding, disguising himself as an energy healer, while also offering a deeply insightful and sometimes chilling account of the complex and even seductive powers of a magnetic leader—and what can happen when you spend many, many hours with that person.

 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060889555
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/28/2020
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 803,203
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Jessica Stern is a leading expert on terrorism and trauma. Stern is the coauthor with J. M. Berger of ISIS: The State of Terror and the author of Denial: A Memoir of Terror and Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill, selected by the New York Times as a notable book of the year. She has held fellowships awarded by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Erikson Institute, and the MacArthur Foundation. She was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, a national fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and a fellow of the World Economic Forum. Stern is a research professor at Boston University. Prior to teaching, she worked in government, serving on President Clinton’s National Security Council Staff and as an analyst at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations xiii

Dramatis Personae xvii

Timeline xxiii

Maps xxxiii

Preface xxxvii

Author's Note xlv

Chapter 1 The Mesmerist 1

Chapter 2 Visiting The Poet In Prison 15

Chapter 3 Hatred And Fear 37

Chapter 4 Victims 49

Chapter 5 Petnjica 73

Chapter 6 Visiting The Poet's Family 85

Chapter 7 The Poet Becomes A Politician 105

Chapter 8 Martyrs 133

Chapter 9 The Hunt 157

Chapter 10 Houdini 179

Chapter 11 Moral Hazard 195

Chapter 12 Fear 239

Chapter 13 The Return Of Nationalism 251

Chapter 14 The Problem Of Evil 269

Acknowledgments 283

Appendices 287

Index 293

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