Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Review: "A Problem From Hell" - America and the Age of Genocide



"A Problem From Hell"
America and the Age of Genocide
Author: Samantha Power
Published: 2003
Pages: 503 pages (Up to 603 with acknowledgments)

I want to today's post to be a little different but ultimately critical to the conversation of security in today's growing global community. This is my book review of "A Problem From Hell" which is a book that puts a human face on the unrepentantly evil act of genocide. Many people think of the Holocaust as an act of genocide and surely it is but there are have been tradgeies that have rivalled its scope and scale and even surpassed in some cases. The book begins in a first person narrative by Powers describing genocide in Bosnia and provides a first hand account of it from her experiences there. However as the book progresses it shifts to a third person narrative detailing back to the Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, Raphael Lemkin's fight to have the word "genocide" adopted, through the Cold War which experiences Cambodia and Iraq, and finally through to the end of the 20th century and the genocides of Bosnia, Kosovo, and Rwanda. It looks at America, arguably the most powerful nation's inability, unwillingness, and ignorance on the facts of genocide. This book is deeply harshly and critical of the U.S. government but with merit, and it provides a bleak understanding of genocide on a very personal level. It also enables the reader to truly experience the horror, confusion, and sadness of those affected by genocide. This book isn't perfect, it very much pulls at the readers' heartstrings and more importantly omits some facts but it does not lose its impact because of this, I highly recommend this book to those who wish to understand that Holocaust is not the only way genocides are committed, that they are still being committed today in our lifetimes, and that we are capable of halting them if we show the inclination do so. Genocide threatens the very fabric of the international community and its existence is a repudiation of all things civil and decent in this world.

4/5 Stars.

34 comments:

  1. I'm going to read this book

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  2. Sounds like an interesting book that touches on a number of important issues, watched a documentary about genocide a few weeks back, was v. interesting, more people have died in the last 100 years from genocide than war, scary thought :S

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  3. Sadder still is that malaria kills more people a year than most genocides combined.

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  4. I'll have to read this one. Sounds interesting.

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  5. sounds pretty good. i've been trying to find a good book to read for a while now. i might buy this one.

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  6. Nice review, I might check the book out ;)

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  7. Dang, you guys bring up some interest stuff in these comments. This book sounds like something I might be interested in reading. Thanks for sharing it.

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  8. Sounds like a great book

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  9. sounds like a interesting book

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  10. I'll have to check this out. Thanks

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  11. May well have to get this book

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  12. Sounds interesting and unique, thanks for the post.

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  13. I think I might take this on holiday with me :D

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  14. lots of problems come from hell... xD

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  15. Good review, The book itself sounds really interesting.

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  16. 4/5, not bad. I'll have to check this one out. Maybe i can get it on Kindle.

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  17. I'll definitely add it to my summer reading list!

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  18. I agree, I'm against genocide 100%

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  19. I read a book similar to this one (seriously), I'll post the name if I remember it.

    Following.

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  20. No Mans Land.. Watch it, won an Oscar for the best foreign motion picture - about couple of soldiers trapped in trenches in Bosnia.

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  21. I'll add it to my giant list of 'books I must read at some point or another'.

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  22. Is it bad if I believe that the Holocaust is a lie?

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  23. Quite a touchy subject, if this book is as good as you say it might just sell quite a few copies. I do mean to read more but I reckon I'll give this one a miss in favour of a fantasy novel, what can I say i'm a big nerd.

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  24. Some intresting points you brought up, i may even read that book ;) will follow you for further updates

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  25. great book. and a great read. defiently going 2 keep following

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  26. this book really sparked my curiosity

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  27. Ive read this, i thought it was pretty good!

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  28. @DeathKorps

    Yeah, I'd have to say so. Even if you can deny the Holocaust, you can deny every other one after that.

    @Veonom

    I've seen it, it;s a incredibly riveting story. Look for Hotel Rawanda if you get a chance. Amazing film.

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  29. Seeing to many book reviews lately, no idea what I want to read now lol

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  30. I'll be sure to check this book out!

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