Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Book learning #79 Humanity- A moral history of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Glover.

I purchased this book on the 24th of March 2001. In those days the Twentieth century really meant something. Indeed, if you were buying books in those days you had been born and raised in it. The relationship was real and intense and the only thoughts of the next century were of the timid, toe dipping 'what's it going to be like?' variety.

This is a historical and philosophical tour which includes the following delights. My Lai,  Stalin, World War One,  Bomber Command, Atomic weapons,  Pol Pot,  Rwanda, Yugoslavia, The Cultural Revolution and of course, everyone's favourite, National Socialism.

Laugh a minute.

Well written and thought provoking, it looks at the ethics and philosophy behind the actions of those responsible for some of the greatest crimes against humanity in the period covered. There is plenty that is not covered (South American dictatorships, Middle Eastern terrorism, North Korea and that's just for starters). The book raises many issues, for me one of the main points is the willingness of the many to go along with the ideas of a few.