Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

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Yale University Press, 2000 M08 11 - 480 pages
The twentieth century was the most brutal in human history, featuring a litany of shameful events that includes the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Stalinist era, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. This important book looks at the politics of our times and the roots of human nature to discover why so many atrocities were perpetuated and how we can create a social environment to prevent their recurrence.

Jonathan Glover finds similarities in the psychology of those who perpetuate, collaborate in, and are complicit with atrocities, uncovering some disturbing common elements -- tribal hatred, blind adherence to ideology, diminished personal responsibility -- as well as characteristics unique to each situation. Acknowledging that human nature has a dark and destructive side, he proposes that we encourage the development of a political and personal moral imagination that will compel us to refrain from and protest all acts of cruelty.

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HUMANITY: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

User Review  - Kirkus

An attempt to formulate a new ethics, based on human psychology, that will account for 20th-century atrocities and offer some realistic hope that they can be avoided in the future.The mindless carnage ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - chriszodrow - LibraryThing

Promised much more than it delivered. A good historical survey, but a superficial analysis and crank solutions. Read full review

About the author (2000)

Jonathan Glover is director of the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics at King's College, London.

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