Dana's Reviews > The Great Big Book of Horrible Things: The Definitive Chronicle of History's 100 Worst Atrocities
The Great Big Book of Horrible Things: The Definitive Chronicle of History's 100 Worst Atrocities
by Matthew White
by Matthew White
Oct 25, 11
Read in October, 2011 — I own a copy
You know that scene in Maus Part II when Art Spiegelman, seated at his drawing board, is perched high up on a Holocaust bodypile? Okay. Matthew White is made of something *steely* because this man's work has him sitting on top of not just *a* tragic body pile, but *the* tragic body pile, the ENTIRE HUMAN BODYPILE. And I just spent the last couple of evenings mountaineering with him to the human bodypile's damnable peak. From up here, let me tell you what it was like: I was impressed because I am not a real historian (The hemoclysm? I had never or barely heard of that theory!), so of course I was impressed that Matthew White took the trouble of making, like, all of history completely accessible to me (because, depressing side note, it turns out that when you are laser focusing on the history of human-induced mass death, you are actually taking it upon yourself to tell most of what there is to tell of human history), but I was also impressed because of Matthew White's steely-eyed, steady-handed determination to number the numberless atrocities of man, but in this stubbornly charming way. He refuses to be grim in the face of the unfaceable, but at the same time made me aware that cannibalism is A LOT less taboo than anyone would like to admit. So, yeah, this book is weird, and important, and long, and it makes all of the death seem strangely connected, and you don't know if the sense of connection means we are perpetually doomed or close to enlightenment. Or what. I recommend it.
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