A compulsively readable and utterly original account of world history-from an atrocitologist's point of view.
Evangelists of human progress meet their opposite in Matthew White's epic examination of history's one hundred most violent events, or, in White's piquant phrasing, "the numbers that people want to argue about." Reaching back to 480 BCE's second Persian War, White...more
The Germans had come so close to winning the First World War they couldn't believe they didn't.
Communism lasted longer than fascism, jazz, John Wayne, Bonanza and the American Motor Corporation....more
"Aside from morbid fascination, is there any reason to know the one hundred highest body counts of history? Four reasons come to mind:
"First, things that happen to a lot of people are usually more important than things that happen to only a few people....
"Second, killing a person is the most you can do to him....
"Therefore, just by default, my one hundred multicides had a maximum impact on an enormous number of people. Without too much debate, I can easily label these to be...more
(Also: this is a whopper of a book, and while I don't often read eBooks, this one is helpful to have in this format; scrolling and searching is much easier).
Update: ended up writing a post on this topic here: http://thinkchristian.net/the-good-th...
When I first picked this book up I was under the misunderstanding that it would be a collection of the most depraved examples of man's inhumanity towards their fellow man (or woman). Rather than basing his countdown of the most inhumane acts based on perceived depravity, cruel...more
"While fighting over land is quite common, the land in dispute usually provides some practical resource - minerals, crops, harbors, farms, strategic location, exploitable labor, or sheer size. Palestine has none of these. The sole resource of the Holy Land is heritage. There's no gold, no oil, very little fertile land, and few natives, nothing but sacred sites, so in essence, the Crusades killed 3 million people in a fight to control the tourist tra...more
Also, we've all heard of the Holocaust, Stalin, etc., but there were a lot of these genocides and massacres that I had never heard about before (Bengali Genocide, etc.),...more
I really enjoyed this book. And it makes a great reference!
I quickly realized human suffering on a grand scale doesn't interest me. I'll stick to Cormac McCarthy for my fictionalized and personalized human suffering and violence, thank you.
Each of the 100 atrocities (minimum 300,000 deaths) is covered in a brie...more
I work in a bookstore and I picked this one up one day, a little apprehensively, to browse through on my lunch break. The quality of these list-style 'pop history' books tends to vary from poor to horrendous, with the overall impression being that they are churned out by hack authors with very little knowledge of the subject matters, usually relying on other dubious works.
This book though - this book wasn't half bad. For a start, Whi...more
"455 million killed overall. This comes to about 725,000 people killed for every page of this book, or 2,000 people killed per word."
This is the most informative and entertaining history book I've crossed paths with. Matthew White's chronologically-ordered top 100 countdown of the biggest body counts during the last 2,500 years brings readers up to speed with the major events that define the world we...more
What he does do well is to summarise the events clearly and dispassionately and this is welcome as many of these events will be unknown to the majority of readers, some understandably so g...more