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The World's Bloodiest History: Massacre, Genocide, and the Scars They Left on Civilization    by Joseph Cummins order for
World's Bloodiest History
by Joseph Cummins
Order:  USA  Can
Fair Winds Press, 2009 (2009)

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

In The World's Bloodiest History, Joseph Cummins investigates 'Massacre, Genocide, and the Scars They Left on Civilization'. Although this is not the most appealing of subjects, the author attempts to shed new light on mankind's most inhumane moments.

The events discussed in this book have been selected because of the impact they have had on world history and human societies. In eighteen chapters, Cummins spans history from Rome's devastation of Carthage, and the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 when thousands of Huguenots were killed by their Catholic neighbors in France, to the more recent Rwandan genocide and massacre at Srebrenica (Bosnia).

Engaging, harrowing and enlightening, the accounts of these atrocities not only convey the terror and trauma of this senseless bloodshed but also identify the zealotry, prejudices and animosities that fuelled them.

'Unfortunately, genocide remains largely a crime without punishment,' writes Cummins. 'The United Nations has failed to intervene in genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda. The United States has refused even to condemn them as they occurred or use the word 'genocide' ... The odds appear to be that if another genocide occurs tomorrow, it will go unchecked by the world community and yet another chapter will be added to the bloodiest history of the world.'

Illustrated with 125 color pictures, this is a somber book, yet pretending these events never occurred is not the correct way to address the underlying problems that caused them.

By discussing and analyzing these savage acts of brutality, perhaps it is possible to make sure they are not repeated in the future. Although Cummins believes it will take a major change in attitude so that international powers intervene to stop these situations, hope springs eternal that we will move in that sensible direction.

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