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Atrocities: The 100 Deadliest Episodes in Human History 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
by Matthew White(Author), Steven Pinker (Foreword, Contributor)
73 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393345230
ISBN-10: 0393345238
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$9.99
eBook features:
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  • In this edition, page numbers are just like the physical edition
  • Length: 689 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews
Review
“Genius.”
- NPR

“[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
About the Author
Matthew White is the creator of the online Historical Atlas of the 20th Century. His data has been cited by forty-five published books and eighty scholarly articles. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Product details
File Size: 4515 KB
Print Length: 689 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (November 7, 2011)
Publication Date: October 31, 2011
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B005LW5JMQ
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray:
Not Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Not Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,453 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#895 in Historical Study Reference (Books)
#363 in Historical Study Reference (Kindle Store)
#1144 in History Encyclopedias
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73 customer reviews
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matthew white horrible things great big death toll book of horrible big book years ago human beings genghis khan second persian writing style style that makes well researched history books subject matter civil war persian war bought this book second congo number of deaths
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David K.
Finally! Snark returns to history
August 3, 2016
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
In the dry, stuffy world of historical non-fiction, humor must be taboo. I've read enough boring, bland history books to fill a small library. I don't recall ever seeing words like "bewigged" and "sissies" or phrases like "...because nobody likes a smartass" or "another damn African civil war " in any of them. This author - even as he delves deep into the most horrific events in human history - can find the time to communicate the thoughts the reader certainly has going through their mind at the time.

Snarkiness aside, the author also delivers the cold, hard facts of murder and mayhem for a topic that is virtually- with few exceptions - glossed over in classroom history texts. He managed to put each event into chronological and political perspective that even the most knowledgeable historian, professional and couch potato alike, can learn from.

My biggest takeaway was the realization that mass murder, starvation, tyranny, and misery are the true cornerstones of the human condition. We in the west especially the USA, have lived more or less in a vacuum, a protective cocoon from that kind of pain for over a hundred years. We fail to realize how tenuous, rare and temporary this kind of peace really is. This book should be required reading in all civics, history and government classes throughout the country. Knowing how our little sliver of time fits inside the overall march of humankind's last 5,000 or so years may cause some of us to turn off the Pokemon app, put down the protest signs, and get on with doing something meaningful.
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Christopher Barnewolt
Fascinating, good faith effort
March 5, 2018
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Very good book, lots of fascinating information here for people interested in history, and especially the history of large-scale human violence. The author's methodology is, by his own admission, not exact, but overall he did a great job tackling a massive, complex, and fascinating subject. Rather than accept this book as the final say on anything, I would use it as a good starting point for further research, and a good summary of the generally accepted mainstream viewpoint of the events listed.

I found one small error of fact in the chapter on the Mahdi Rebellion (the British officer who converted to Islam was von Slatin, not Hicks Pasha, who I don't think was ever a convert). So again, I'd double check the details elsewhere before relying on anything too specific.

The author clearly has his own opinions on politics, religion, and history, and it comes across in his writing style. But for the most part he avoids any screeds or polemics, and sticks to a just-the-facts presentation of his data set rather than shoving his own interpretations down the reader's throat.

Would recommend.
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DACHokie
VINE VOICE
Historically, Life Has No Value …
November 11, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
ATROCITIES: THE 100 DEADLIEST EPISODES IN HUMAN HISTORY provides a blunt view at mankind’s destructive ways from the Second Persian War (480 BC) to the Second Congo War (2002). Between these two bookends are a multitude of wars, genocides, rebellions, crusades, revolts and general acts/missions of deadly cruelty that consumed hundreds of millions of lives. As astonishing as the sheer number of deaths are, even more astonishing is that author Matthew White only details and ranks (by death toll) the 100 deadliest events. What makes ATROCITIES such a worthy reference is not only the abundance of details, but the presentation of the material along with White’s mordant narration.

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.

Overall, ATROCITIES is a terrific and useful reference that brings to light many lesser-known historical events from all over the world. There were quite a few episodes that I had never heard of, especially in Africa. I have always enjoyed almanacs, older versions of the Guinness Book of World records and The Book of Lists, so this book really hit the mark with me.
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John August
... few years ago under its original title of The Great Big Book of Horrible Things
January 11, 2017
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I read this book a few years ago under its original title of The Great Big Book of Horrible Things. I’m re-reading it now because it’s oddly comforting to see how bad things have been in ages past. Somehow, humanity made it to 2017, so there’s a good chance we’ll make it through again.

It's not a book you sit down and read in a sitting. Instead, it's great for moments of downtime, or a few chapters before bed.
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K. Rense
Man's inhumanity to man on parade! A history text ...
April 24, 2015
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Man's inhumanity to man on parade! A history text, a sociology primer, and casebook on deviant psychology superbly written and organized. Mr. White is a scholar. This, his witty, sometimes sardonic and comprehensive survey of human greed on a massive scale, teachers all one needs to know why man's defining characteristic is the willingness -- nay, compulsion -- to kill other human beings. No education is complete without a thorough reading of this delightful, appalling and altogether damning chronicle of that monster that is humankind.
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Jo
Treatise on the Nature of Humans
January 4, 2017
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a very important informative read.
It tells us everything we need to know about human nature.
It supports my belief that until our species understands
our 'nature' we are doomed to repeat these 'atrocitites'.
Should be required reading for all senior high school
and college students.
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