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The Great Big Book of Horrible Things: The Definitive Chronicle of History's 100 Worst Atrocities Hardcover – November 7, 2011
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“[White] doesn’t take sides so much as report the facts―and the death tolls. . . . Full of fascinating information about parts of the world little-known to most Westerners.” (Washington Post)
“White . . . gives voice to the suffering of ordinary people that, inexorably, has defined every historical epoch.” (Military Review)
“A fascinating read thanks to White’s keen grasp of history and his wry take on the villains of the past.” (Christian Science Monitor) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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These statistics are simply imponderable. What was it like to live after the cataclysm of the Thirty Years War? How did Paraguay manage to continue as a nation after the debacle of the War of the Triple Alliance? How did these "democides" happen?
The Great Big Book of Horrible Things collects and ranks the Thirty Years War (Rank: 17) and the War of the Triple Alliance (Rank: 79) with ninety-eight other mind-boggling instances of man's inhumanity to man, and provides a brief synopsis of their causes, course and results, all done in a breezy and humorous approach to the all-too serious subject matter. This approach is not a flaw of the book. All but five or six of the wars are long-forgotten, and the fact that so many can die for what appear to be transient and ephemeral causes is a cautionary instruction for the modern age. Moreover, the effect that these statistics and the stories behind them have - particularly the ones removed from modernity - have on me is "Gosh!Wow!" as in "Gosh! Wow!" can you believe that Genghis Khan (Rank: 2) managed to kill 40 million human beings with nothing more than muscle powered weapons?!?!?
Each of the entries gets a fairly short write up that provides background, players, setting, course and effects of the particular piece of human tragedy being reviewed.Read more ›
I also developed a rather intense sick feeling knowing human beings have changed very little over the last ten thousand years. We immodestly pat ourselves on the back as rising to unheard of levels of civilization and enlightened social intercourse.Read more ›
Organized in a chronological manner, each “episode” (war, genocide, etc.) is presented as a chapter. Each chapter includes a summary header that encapsulates the episode by including: death toll, participants, time frame, location, general reasoning behind episode, who or what’s to blame and the episode’s rank on the list of 100. Following the header, White delves into the dirty details of the event in a succinct manner that is rich with details. His witty summaries of each episode include a degree of sarcasm that somehow manages to blend the grave subject manner with a bit of humor. The humor relates mostly to how mankind’s stupidity often leads to mass death … many of the episodes presents will have readers shaking their heads. White makes the depressing topic rather enjoyable to read. There are no illustrations/pictures (other than the cover) and only a handful of maps in the book, but the text renders such visual aids unnecessary. The appendices at the end of the book provide the rationale behind the rankings, additional summarized data and the sources used to create the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Educational and entetaining. It should be required reading for all high schools.Published 2 months ago by david w
Am on my 5th time reading it! Fascinating material presented in a extremely organized and interesting way. Never be afraid to say "there is no new history!"Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
According to the US Census of 1890, 200.000 Native North Americans were accounted for while historians estimate the original population prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims between... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dr. F. Friedrich Kling
Mr. White writes short summarizes of the top 100 death events in human history. Most I was totally unaware of. Interesting, enlightening but when all said and done, who cares.Published 9 months ago by James Sabat
Fabulous. I'm seventy years old and thought I knew a thing or too about
this world. Atrocities opened my eyes far wider than I thought possible. Read more
Atrocities is an interesting book, not only in the short sections describing all these horrors, but also in some of the conclusions (“What I Found: Analysis”): hereditary monarchs... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Adelin Remy