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The Killing Compartments: The Mentality of Mass Murder
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The Killing Compartments: The Mentality of Mass Murder

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  7 reviews
An incisive exploration of why acts of mass annihilation take place and how people become mass killers

By historical standards, the early years of the twenty-first century have been remarkably peaceful. Only rarely are people killed by their own kind, and only very, very rarely are they killed by other animals, microorganisms excepted.  Nevertheless, even though the statis
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Yale University Press
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3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  37 ratings  ·  7 reviews

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Georgina Nish
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Boring!Boring!Boring! Extremely repetitive and for what should be a scholarly review of case studies, experiments and interviews is very full of biased opinions. Not to mention confusing and inconsistent as often he will mention something then say oh yes that, I’m going to explain that in this later chapter making it sound as if you are meant to be jumping between chapters. When mentioning other scholar he is never consistent for some he just states their name, for some their title or job, and t ...more
Jan 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was more academic than I anticipated ( I now know the words "mesosociological" and "dysmentalization," but although it was somewhat of a slog in places, I found its central message rather reassuring. de Swaan takes on the common wisdom that under the 'right' circumstances, anyone could commit mass murder. While he acknowledges the validity of research into certain groups like Police Battalion 101 (from Browning's Ordinary Men, which I had to read in John Honduras's European history cla ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dit boek is een poging om vanuit de sociologie verklaringen te geven voor het gedrag van mensen die actief deelnemen aan genocides, martelingen etc. het blijft bij eenpoging, de schrijver vindt geen afdoende verklaring. Het zijn vaak "gewone mensen", die in bepaalde omstandigehden vreselijke dingen doen, maar dat wisten we al. Het boek is wel interessant,omdat de Swaan veel voorbeelden van genocides wat nader bekijkt, maar het blijft toch aan de oppervlakte.
Frans van Liempt
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Het boek geeft eerder een goede analyse dan een weerlegging van wat Arendt 'de banaliteit van het kwaad' heeft genoemd. Belangrijke lectuur! Helaas mis ik wel de invloed van een editor, die veel goed werk had kunnen doen: de schrijver valt teveel in herhalingen en gebruikt teveel jargon.
Sander Boek
Feb 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Overdreven gekunsteld overzicht van de sociologie achter genocidale regimes en daders met veel herhalingen en te weinig voorbeelden. Belangrijkste argument luidt compartimentalisatie. Nogal zwak voor een werk van 300 pagina's.
The Jewish Book Council
Review by Jack Fischel for the Jewish Book Council.
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From Abram de Swaan's review in WSJ
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