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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $49.50

Hardback 416 pp.
6.125" x 9.25"



Publication date:
June 2016

Imprint: OUP US

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Confronting Evil

Engaging Our Responsibility to Prevent Genocide

James Waller

While it is true that genocide prevention is not what tends to land on the front pages of national newspapers today, it is what prevents the worst headlines from ever being made. However, despite the post-Holocaust consensus that "never again" would the world allow civilians to be victims of genocide, the reality is that history is closer than ever to repeating itself.

As many as 170 million civilians across the world have been victims of genocide and mass atrocity in the 20th century. Now that we have entered the 21st century, little light has arisen from the darkness as civilians still find themselves under brutal attack in the Sudan, Burma, Syria, the Central African Republic, Burundi, and a score of other countries in the world as they find themselves beset by state fragility and extremist identity politics.

Drawing on over two decades of primary research and scholarship from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, Confronting Evil: Engaging Our Responsibility to Prevent Genocide is grounded in the belief that preventing mass atrocity is an achievable goal, but only if we have the collective will to do so.

This groundbreaking book from one of the foremost leaders in the field presents a fascinating continuum of research-informed strategies to prevent genocide from ever taking place; to avert further atrocities once mass murder occurs; and to prevent further turmoil once a society learns how to rebuild itself.

Dr. James Waller challenges each of us to accept our responsibilities as global citizens - in whichever role and place we find ourselves - and to think critically about one of the world's most pressing human rights issues in which there are no sidelines, only sides.

Readership : Professionals and the general public interested in topics pertaining to law, policy-making, and global civil society.

Part I: Naming and Defining Genocide
1. A Crime Without a Name
2. By Their Rightful Name
3. By Our Words and Actions
Part II: A Continuum of Prevention Strategies
4. Upstream Prevention Strategies: Avoiding "A Path to Hell"
5. Midstream Prevention Strategies: "Sometimes We Must Interfere"
6. Downstream Prevention Strategies: "This Is For Those Who Want Us To Forget"
Part III: Never Again?
Conclusion: Thus Have We Made the World... Thus Have I Made It

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Dr. James Waller is the Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College in New Hampshire and Director of Academic Programs with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. Waller's book on perpetrators of genocide, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (Oxford University Press, 2002; revised and updated 2nd edition, 2007), was praised by Publisher's Weekly for "clearly and effectively synthesizing a wide range of studies to develop an original and persuasive model of the process by which people can become evil." Waller is a member of the advisory board for the International Association of Genocide Scholars and he also serves on the board of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, as an editor-in-chief for Genocide Studies and Prevention, and as a member of the international Genocide Prevention Advisory Network. Waller is also an Honorary Member of the International Expert Team of the Institute for Research of Genocide Canada.

Genocide - Jens Meierhenrich
Resisting Genocide - edited by Claire Andrieu, Sarah Gensburger and Jacques Semelin
The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil - Ervin Staub
To Kill A People - John Cox

Special Features

  • Waller's analysis is drawn from the author's primary experience in over two decades of work as a teacher, scholar, and activist in the field of genocide studies, including extensive travel to, and research in, post-atrocity societies around the world.
  • Each chapter contextualizes a different genocidal history: the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia, South Sudan, and Argentina. Other genocides referenced throughout the text include indigenous genocides in the US, Australia, and Canada; the Armenian Genocide; and the Ukrainian genocide.
  • Provides up-to-date coverage of ongoing conflicts in Sudan, Burma, Syria, the Central African Republic, and Burundi.