From Library Journal
This unique reference offers a compendium of more than 150 entries that broadly define "international humanitarian law," a subject that involves most of the legal and political aspects of modern conflict. The contributors include scholars, journalists, and international civil servants qualified by practical experience. Entries for Bosnia, Cambodia, and Rwanda help explain why the lexicon of recent warfare includes terms like "siege," "child soldiers," and "belligerent status." Although some of the accounts are more anecdotal than substantive, the style achieves the stated goal of the editors, both journalists: combining "technical accuracy and readability." In addition to cross references, most entries are enhanced by dramatic photographs. Overall, the effect of the book is to convey how modern warfare has obliterated the distinction between the military and the civilian. Highly recommended for reference collections at academic and larger public libraries.-AZachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
paper 0-393-31914-8 Pulitzer-winning Newsday journalist Gutman (Banana Diplomacy: The Making of American Policy in Nicaragua 19811987, 1988) and Rieff (Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West, 1995) present an encyclopedia on the laws of war and on the willful violation of these laws in so many recent acts of barbarism. War happens. Over time, however, international covenants, in particular the series of Geneva Conventions from the mid-19th century to 1977, have made reasonably clear (there is always some ambiguity in law) what is allowable in war and what is not. Paradoxically, while the laws of war have never been more developed, war crimes, especially against civilians in such places as Bosnia and Rwanda, continue on an epidemic scale. In this A-to-Z guidebook, the editors have gathered together contributions by experts in international law as well as journalists who have experienced war firsthand to try to make sense of both the laws of war and where and how they are violated. They succeed admirably. The book is loosely constructed around three major themes. Short pieces define particular terms and concepts within the international laws of war: aggression, genocide, just and unjust wars, etc. Longer essays explore particular violations of these laws: biological experimentation, children as soldiers, the use of chemical weapons, and others. Finally, ten detailed case studiesamong them Chechnya, Cambodia, the Iran-Iraq warare presented. While the A-to-Z format is often confusing (a definition will be followed by a totally unrelated case study simply because it comes next alphabetically), sufficient cross-referencing does allow following a particular idea or episode across sections. Adding to the richness of this work is the inclusion of an abundant number of photographs of the atrocities and horrors of war crimes. These serve to counteract any tendency toward dispassionate analysis that prose alone might allow. The book both informs and appalls, and it is meant to. As war-crime tribunals on Rwanda and Bosnia proceed, and as public consciousness of the atrocities that have occurred in such places increases, this is a work of singular importance. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.