Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

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Yale University Press, Aug 11, 2000 - History - 480 pages
32 Reviews
The twentieth century was the most brutal in human history, featuring a litany of shameful events that includes the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Stalinist era, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. This important book looks at the politics of our times and the roots of human nature to discover why so many atrocities were perpetuated and how we can create a social environment to prevent their recurrence.

Jonathan Glover finds similarities in the psychology of those who perpetuate, collaborate in, and are complicit with atrocities, uncovering some disturbing common elements -- tribal hatred, blind adherence to ideology, diminished personal responsibility -- as well as characteristics unique to each situation. Acknowledging that human nature has a dark and destructive side, he proposes that we encourage the development of a political and personal moral imagination that will compel us to refrain from and protest all acts of cruelty.

  

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Review: Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

User Review  - Jessica Lavander-Biggs - Goodreads

Humanity brought the atrocities of the 20th century together with philosophy and psychology to explain how they occurred, and how they can be prevented in the future. The book fell short of its claim ... Read full review

Review: Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

User Review  - Bastian Greshake - Goodreads

A deeply moving book, which makes you doubt Steven Pinker's claims that violence is vanishing. Glover, as a moral philosopher, takes a look into how inhumane humanity has acted in the 20th century. It ... Read full review

Contents

Never Such Innocence Again
1
ETHICS WITHOUT THE MORAL LAW
9
Nietzsches Challenge
11
Selfinterest as a Restraint
18
The Moral Resources Humanity
22
The Moral Resources Moral Identity
26
The Festival of Cruelty
31
Answering Nietzsche
40
In Those Years
237
The Trap of Terror
241
Belief Ends and Means
252
Stalinism and the Moral Resources
257
The Working of the Belief System
265
Stalinism Truth and Moral Identity
274
Maos Utopian Project
283
Overturning the Basket Cambodia
299

THE MORAL PSYCHOLOGY OF WAGING WAR
45
Close Combat
47
The Case of My Lai
58
The Shift to Killing at a Distance
64
Bombing
69
Hiroshima
89
War and the Moral Resources
113
TRIBALISM
117
Rwanda
119
The Tribal Trap
123
The Political Containment of Tribalism
133
The Roots of Tribal Conflict
141
The Capacity to Unchain Ourselves
149
WAR AS A TRAP
153
The Trap of the Trenches
155
The Home Front
165
The Stone Has Started to Roll 1914
177
Sliding Out of the Trap 1962
200
Ways Out
224
BELIEF AND TERROR STALIN AND HIS HEIRS
235
Utopia and Belief
310
THE WILL TO CREATE MANKIND ANEW THE NAZI EXPERIMENT
315
The Core of Nazism
317
Obedience and Conformity
328
35 The Attack on Humanity
337
The Erosion of Moral Identity
349
The Nazi Moral Identity
355
The Willingness to Believe
360
Philosophers
365
Bystanders
379
Interpreting the Nazi Episode
394
ON THE RECENT MORAL HISTORY OF HUMANITY
399
Some People and Not Others
401
Ethics Humanized
405
The Past Alive in the Present
411
References
415
Sources and Acknowledgements
448
Index
451
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Jonathan Glover is director of the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics at King's College, London.

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