Evil: A Primer: A History of a Bad Idea from Beelzebub to Bin Laden
"Today our nation saw evil." - President George W. Bush, September 11th 2001
Evil! Like a zombie back from the grave, it has arisen--a word many of us had long ago relegated to Sunday sermons, video games and horror flicks. But of course, evil is not old fashioned, nor has it ever gone away, and may be as robust as ever.
So what is evil? Does it exist? Veteran journalist Bill Hart tries to drag evil out of the darkness and hold it up to the light. In doing so, he has written a very readable account of 5,000 years of philosophy, theology and human history as it reflects and refines its notion of evil.
More than an explanation of why bad things happen, Evil: A Primer is a tour through the nether regions in search of what we really know.
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This book was a comprehensive, intelligent, balanced and humorous account and analysis of the demonic, diabolical, devastating and depraved. In short, Evil: A Primer shined a light in the dark places where the worst of humanity resides. It brought into question thoughts about evil that are so common sense in our human, American, and modern societies that we can hardly see them anymore. Hart also managed to maintain an unbiased--yet entirely human, and humane--outlook on the whole of evil's history: from humanity's first moral codes to our modern enigmas. Most importantly, Hart has created a compendium of beliefs, mores, and taboos and their implications and places in history without straying down the paths or moral bias, over intellectualism, or fear mongering. Quite the opposite, in fact Hart's work is an accessible and entertaining Primer on evil; and it is knowledge of evil and its origins which at least turns that big "E" into a manageable--almost human, almost mundane--little "e". For better or for worse, but certainly for good reading.