Atrocitology

November 13th, 2011 Books & Publishing, The Sun Herald

File this one under ‘people will list anything’. A book chronicling humanity’s deadliest and most destructive wars and conflicts seems like the literary equivalent of slowing down to look at a car accident at first glance — particularly as each chapter lists the time frame, participants, rank in the top 100 and death toll. But Atrocitology is actually a well-organised and quite scholarly work that puts humanity’s shamefully violent history in perspective. White also channels the raw data into a thoughtful final chapter of analysis where he raises some interesting points — everything from the statistically tiny impact of terrorism to the fact that wars are rarely fought over sex.


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