Industrial-Sized Deals TextBTS15 Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums $5 Off Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Shop Popular Services pivdl pivdl pivdl  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Shop Back to School with Amazon Back to School with Amazon Outdoor Recreation STEM Toys & Games
Death by Government and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Sold by owlsbooks
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; may contain marginal notes and or highlighting
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
  • List Price: $35.95
  • Save: $1.80 (5%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Death by Government has been added to your Cart
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $6.98
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Death by Government Paperback – January 1, 1997

25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1560009276 ISBN-10: 1560009276

Buy New
Price: $34.15
25 New from $24.48 21 Used from $16.73
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$24.48 $16.73

InterDesign Brand Store Awareness Rent Textbooks
$34.15 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Death by Government + How Do You Kill 11 Million People?: Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think
Price for both: $45.47

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews


* Named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice!

"[Death by Government] is a compelling study of what the author calls democide—the intentional killing by governments through genocide, politicide, massacre, and terror. . . . A product of eight years of research by a distinguished political scientist, this is an unrivaled magnum opus with dozens of tables, figures, copious notes, and a massive bibliography. Essential reading for historians, political scientists, and readers interested in genocide."

—R. H. Dekmejian, Choice

Death by Government should be read in history classes not just across America, but around the world. The problem of power, as Rummel terms it, remains with us today. . . . Only if we learn from the past can we ever hope to end state-sanctioned murder. The case for human liberty and limited government has never been made more effectively than by this fearsome book.”

—Doug Bandow, Cato Institute

Death by Government is a good introduction to the general phenomena of state-sponsored mass murder or democide (Rummel’s concept). The numerous case studies are a mizture of carefully wrought description of the horrendous suffering of peoples under maily authoritarian political systems, with just the right dose of personal horror stories to make the book a memorable study of human deprivation and misery. For this effort, Rummel ought to be applauded.”

—Barbara Harff, the Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“With this volume, Rummel has completed his magnum opus on genocide and government mass murder, in short what Rummel calls ‘democide’. . . . Rummel’s methodology is based on averaging figures from a large number of sources, rather than historical source criticism or demographic estimates. This is a controversial method, yet it is clearly documented and well argued. . . . This work if a major achievement and will provide a reference point which no future systematic work on democide can ignore.”

—Nils Petter Gleditsch, Journal of Peace Research

“Governments have murdered about 169 million people in the twentieth century, according to Rummel’s estimate. . . . Yet mass murder by governments has been largely ignored by political science. Rummel argues that, to rectify this omission, a reconceptualization of government and politics is required. To this end he proposes the concept of ‘democide’ , which he defines as the intentional killing by a government of unarmed people. . . . Rummerl draws our attention to facts that are often ignored and should not be.”

—Michael Freeman, the Slavonic and East European Review

About the Author

R. J. Rummel was professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii. He is the author of over one hundred scholarly articles and two dozen books, including Power Kills, China’s Bloody Century, and The Miracle That Is Freedom.  In addition, he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and been the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Conflict Processes Section of the American Political Science Association and the International Association of Genocide Scholars’ Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to the Field of Genocide and Democide Studies and Prevention.


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560009276
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560009276
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

R.J. Rummel is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science. He has published twenty-four nonfiction books (one that received an award for being among the most referenced), six novels, and about 100 peer-reviewed professional articles; has received the Susan Strange Award of the International Studies Association in 1999 for having intellectually most challenged the field; and in 2003 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Conflict Processes Section, American Political Science Association. He has been frequently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

See also "about R.J. Rummel, or his curriculum vita at His website is at, his daily blog is at

Many of his books are downloadable free in pdf at:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Storm Russell on June 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sometimes it takes the insight of others to help me make better sense of what I already knew. I used to think war was the greatest cause of death and tragedy, but after reading R.J. Rummel's "Death by Government" I came to the recognition that governments killing their own citizens (what Rummel terms "democide") accounts for far more death than war has this century (by a factor of about four to one). War's visibility distorts perception. For example, I have long been aware of the six million Jews executed in the Holocaust because this was part of World War II. Yet even while I also knew the former Soviet Union had annihilated some fifty to sixty million of its own people, until I read Rummel I had not given the Soviet slaughter nearly the same significance as the Holocaust (though the number of Soviet citizens slaughtered was literally ten times the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis!). Rummel has been called the foremost "atrocitologist" of our time and "Death by Government" has been thoroughly researched with expertise. To complete the book this former Yale professor and Nobel Peace Prize nominee recorded over 8,000 estimates of genocide and mass murder from over a thousand sources. As a political science doctoral student, I have reviewed many books on the subject, and, for anyone interested in understanding genocide and government mass murder, "Death by Government" is the most comprehensive compilation of government atrocities I have ever encountered. It contains the pertinent numbers as well as the sad and grisly tales of unimaginable carnage. "Death by Government" is an illuminating book on some of the darkest elements of this century. Any course on these issues will be seriously enhanced by Rummel's very readable accounting of state sponsored homicide.
7 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
92 of 96 people found the following review helpful By the wizard of uz on June 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
And with reason. There is none of the sacrifice, drama or nobility reported in battles. It's not about Thermopylae or Gettysburg.
This is an account of what humanity has done to itself--and continues to this day. It's a book on comparitive demonology. One almost gets the impression that a soldier ripping a baby from his mother's arms, tossing it in the air and catching it on the point of his bayonet is the rule, not the exception. Ditto for POW's captured by front line troops.
The author is a professor of Political Science who finds it amazing that his colleagues write texts on the purposes of government, yet fail to mention that (with the possible exception of the Jewish victims of Nazi genocide) instead of protecting citizens from "the savagery of the jungle" by rule of law, governments have and continue to be, THE greatest killers of all.
"Democide" is the word he coins to combine genocide (murdering because of membership in a hated race, ethnicity,or religion,) plus politicide ( murdering for political purposes, e.g; dissidents ) and mass murder (indiscriminate killing).
Democide is always committed by governments. It is as organized as taxation or road building. Discounting civilians accidentally killed in cross-fires, or even in the aerial bombardments of cities, this still leaves horrifying numbers.
Pre-Twentieth Century? An estimate of 169,198,000 human beings massacred. Since this includes the victims of Genghis Khan, Incas, Conquistadors, etc., There's an obscene tendency to see them as not quite human, not quite real due to the distance in time. So Tarmelane, the Turkish conqueror slaughtered 100,000 people outside of Delhi and he liked to make pyramids of human heads?--Who cares?--Just stuff in history books. . .
Is WW2 is close enough?
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sugi Sorensen on October 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A shocking and sobering account of what happens when governments become too powerful. Rummel's corollary to Lord Acton's dictum is "Power kills; absolute power kills absolutely." His research is top notch. The writing is less so. But the message is clear -- when it comes to forms of government, the freer it is, the less likely the government is to kill its own. The lesson should be to promote poltical freedom wherever possible and limit the power of government. A powerful antidote to advocates of benevolent big brother.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Louise Cate on September 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Death by Government examines democides (definition below) of one million or more in the 20th century and before. The author, R. J. Rummel, shows that totalitarian regimes commit most of the democides. The underlying principle is that the less freedom people have, the greater the violence; the more freedom, the less violence. Rummel says, "The problem is power. The solution is democracy. The course of action is to foster freedom."
To understand the book, it is worthwhile to remember the following definitions:
DEMOCIDE: the intentional government killing of an unarmed person or people, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder. Note: "demos" = people. "cide" (caedere) = kill
GENOCIDE: among other things, the killing of people by a government because of their indelible group membership (race, ethnicity, religion, and language).
POLITICIDE: the murder of any person or people by a government because of their politics or for political purposes.
MASS MURDER: the indiscriminate killing of any person or people by a government.
HOLOCAUST: a thorough destruction, especially by fire. A type of genocide.
Although the book examines democides (definition above) of one million or more in the 20th century and before, the rest of this review will focus on the ten worst democides in the 20th century.

We all know the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews. Most American do NOT know that the ten worst totalitarian governments murdered more than 136 million OTHER people during the 20th century. The following is a list of the ten governments responsible for all those deaths.
(* = about 2 million MURDERS)
Soviet Gulag (1917-87)
-Executions during collectivization, etc.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Death by Government
This item: Death by Government
Price: $34.15
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: j rudolph