New Books In Genocide Studies


Interviews with Scholars of Genocide about their New Books


  • William L. Patterson, We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People (International Publishers, 2017)

    William L. Patterson, "We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People" (International Publishers, 2017)

    25/09/2020 Duração: 40min

    In 2017, We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People, the historic petition authored by William L. Patterson, was published in its third edition. It has been nearly 70 years since Patterson, who passed away in 1980, and Paul Roberson, who passed away in 1976, presented the petition to the United Nations General Assembly, charging the United States government with genocide under the United National Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. William L. Patterson was born in San Francisco on August 27th, 1891. He died in New York City in 1980. Jarvis Tyner, executive vice chair of the Communist Party USA, and active public spokesperson against racism, imperialism and war, joins me to discuss his prologue to the third edition of We Charge Genocide, as well as its history and ongoing relevance today. Jeff Bachman is a Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. He is the author of The United States a

  • David Livingstone Smith, On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It (Oxford UP, 2020)

    David Livingstone Smith, "On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    18/09/2020 Duração: 01h05min

    The Rwandan genocide, the Holocaust, the lynching of African Americans, the colonial slave trade: these are horrific episodes of mass violence spawned from racism and hatred. We like to think that we could never see such evils again--that we would stand up and fight. But something deep in the human psyche--deeper than prejudice itself--leads people to persecute the other: dehumanization, or the human propensity to think of others as less than human. An award-winning author and philosopher, Smith takes an unflinching look at the mechanisms of the mind that encourage us to see someone as less than human. There is something peculiar and horrifying in human psychology that makes us vulnerable to thinking of whole groups of people as subhuman creatures. When governments or other groups stand to gain by exploiting this innate propensity, and know just how to manipulate words and images to trigger it, there is no limit to the violence and hatred that can result. Drawing on numerous historical and contemporary cases

  • T. P. Kaplan and W. Gruner, Resisting Persecution: Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust (Berghahn, 2020)

    T. P. Kaplan and W. Gruner, "Resisting Persecution: Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust" (Berghahn, 2020)

    08/09/2020 Duração: 01h05min

    In 20 years of studying the Holocaust, it didn’t occurr to me that German officials might, when petitioned by German Jews or by Germans advocating for German Jews, change their minds. But it turns out that, sometimes, they did. And even when they didn’t, petitioning local, regional or national officials (often all at the same time) could delay deportations or punishments or even function as a form of resistance. Resisting Persecution: Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust (Berghahn Books) looks at these petitions from a variety of perspectives. As editors Thomas Kaplan and Wolf Gruner argue, this is a topic that is surprisingly undercovered. And it’s a topic rich in insight and importance. The book shows clearly that petitioning was a common practice. It shows clearly that petitions were sometimes granted. It shows clearly that petitions sometimes led to unexpected and unusual outcomes. And it shows us that studying petitions sometimes opens our eyes to new ways of understanding old topics. The book i

  • Carolyn J. Dean, The Moral Witness: Trials and Testimony after Genocide (Cornell UP, 2019)

    Carolyn J. Dean, "The Moral Witness: Trials and Testimony after Genocide" (Cornell UP, 2019)

    07/09/2020 Duração: 37min

    The Moral Witness: Trials and Testimony after Genocide (Cornell University Press, 2019) is the first cultural history of the "witness to genocide" in the West. Carolyn J. Dean shows how the witness became a protagonist of twentieth-century moral culture by tracing the emergence of this figure in courtroom battles from the 1920s to the 1960s―covering the Armenian genocide, the Ukrainian pogroms, the Soviet Gulag, and the trial of Adolf Eichmann. In these trials, witness testimonies differentiated the crime of genocide from war crimes and began to form our understanding of modern political and cultural murder. By the turn of the twentieth century, the "witness to genocide" became a pervasive icon of suffering humanity and a symbol of western moral conscience. Dean sheds new light on the recent global focus on survivors' trauma. Only by placing the moral witness in a longer historical trajectory, she demonstrates, can we understand how the stories we tell about survivor testimony have shaped both our past and co

  • Rafael Medoff, The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust (JPS, 2019)

    Rafael Medoff, "The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust" (JPS, 2019)

    31/08/2020 Duração: 01h49s

    Like so many Americans, American Jews supported President Roosevelt. They adored him. They believed in him. They idolized him. Perhaps they shouldn’t have. Based on recently discovered documents, The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust (Jewish Publication Society) reassesses the hows and whys behind the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration’s fateful policies during the Holocaust. Rafael Medoff delves into difficult truths: With FDR’s consent, the administration deliberately suppressed European immigration far below the limits set by U.S. law. His administration also refused to admit Jewish refugees to the U.S. Virgin Islands, dismissed proposals to use empty Liberty ships returning from Europe to carry refugees, and rejected pleas to drop bombs on the railways leading to Auschwitz, even while American planes were bombing targets only a few miles away—actions that would not have conflicted with the larger goal of winning the war. What motivated FDR? Medoff ex

  • Robert G. Boatright and Valerie Sperling, Trumping Politics as Usual: Masculinity, Misogyny, and the 2016 Elections (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Robert G. Boatright and Valerie Sperling, "Trumping Politics as Usual: Masculinity, Misogyny, and the 2016 Elections" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    24/08/2020 Duração: 01h04min

    How did the Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns affect other elections in 2016? How did the use of gender stereotypes and insulting references to women in the presidential campaign influence the way House and Senate candidates campaigned? The 2016 American elections forced scholars and candidates to reassess the role that gender plays in elections. In Trumping Politics as Usual: Masculinity, Misogyny, and the 2016 Elections (Oxford UP, 2019), Robert G. Boatright and Valerie Sperling (professors of political science, Clark University) focus on how gender norms are used to frame – both positively and negatively – the people who run for office. The book interrogates gender and sexism in campaigns (the “gender issue”) and what happens when the media, electorate, and candidates expect to have a clear winner and loser(the “loser” issue). Boatright and Sperling distinguish between the top of the ticket and down ballot elections to tell a story about the impact of the 2016 presidential race on competitive congression

  • David Livingstone Smith, On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It (Oxford UP 2020)

    David Livingstone Smith, "On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It" (Oxford UP 2020)

    10/08/2020 Duração: 01h07min

    The phenomenon of dehumanization is associated with such atrocities as the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the Holocaust in World War II. In these and other cases, people are described in ways that imply that they are less than fully human as a prelude to committing extreme forms of violence against them. In On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It (Oxford University Press, 2020), David Livingstone Smith analyzes what dehumanization is, why are we prone to dehumanize, and how we might resist dehumanizing others. On his view, dehumanizing others is a cultural technology that functions to disinhibit us from extreme aggression. It stems from our psychological tendencies to essentialist thinking and to hierarchical thinking, and is sparked by authority figures who rely on these features to characterize other groups as monstrous and dangerous. Livingstone Smith builds on and revises his previous work on this subject and presents it in a form that is both rigorous and accessible to a wide audience. Learn more

  • Richard Breitman, The Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies(Oxford Academic/USHMM)

    Richard Breitman, "The Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies"(Oxford Academic/USHMM)

    07/08/2020 Duração: 45min

    The Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies is turning twenty-five. One of the first academic journals focused on the study of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies, it has been one of a few journals that led the field in new directions. So it seemed appropriate to mark the moment by talking with Richard Breitman, its long-time editor. Breitman is professor emeritus at American University and the author of several books on German history and the Holocaust. We talk in the interview about the origins of the Journal, about what it means to be the editor of an academic journal, and about how the field of Holocaust studies has evolved over the years. Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University. He’s the author of four modules in the Reacting to the Past series, including The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994, published by W. W. Norton Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

  • Nick Estes, Our History is the Future (Verso, 2019)

    Nick Estes, "Our History is the Future" (Verso, 2019)

    16/07/2020 Duração: 01h29min

    For the second time, Nick Estes has been gracious enough to participate in a New Books Network podcast to discuss his book Our History is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (Verso, 2019). (Listen to Ryan Tate’s interview for New Books in the American West here). This second interview focuses more on a genocide studies reading of Dr. Estes’ book, raising questions about the history of genocide against Indigenous peoples, as well as Indigenous resistance and survival. It also seeks to connect Dr. Estes’ book to subsequent events in the United States and around the world, including the pandemic and protest movements. Nick Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. Jeff Bachman is a Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. He is the author of The United States and Genocide: (Re)Defining th

  • Sabine Hildebrandt, The Anatomy of Murder: Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich (Berghahn, 2017)

    Sabine Hildebrandt, "The Anatomy of Murder: Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich" (Berghahn, 2017)

    09/07/2020 Duração: 25min

    Of the many medical specializations to transform themselves during the rise of National Socialism, anatomy has received relatively little attention from historians. While politics and racial laws drove many anatomists from the profession, most who remained joined the Nazi party, and some helped to develop the scientific basis for its racialist dogma. As Sabine Hildebrandt reveals in The Anatomy of Murder: Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich (Berghahn, 2017), however, their complicity with the Nazi state went beyond the merely ideological. They progressed through gradual stages of ethical transgression, turning increasingly to victims of the regime for body procurement, as the traditional model of working with bodies of the deceased gave way, in some cases, to a new paradigm of experimentation with the “future dead.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

  • Francine Hirsch, Soviet Judgement at Nuremberg (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Francine Hirsch, "Soviet Judgement at Nuremberg" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    09/07/2020 Duração: 01h24min

    How did an authoritarian regime help lay the cornerstones of human rights and international law? Soviet Judgement at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal  (Oxford University Press, 2020) argues that Anglo-American dominated histories capture the moment while missing the story. Drawing upon secret archives open for a few brief years during Russia’s liberalization, Francine Hirsch takes readers behind the scenes to private parties and late-night deliberations where the Nuremberg Principles took shape. A vital corrective told through the messy and all too human negotiations behind a trial that changed everything and almost never happened. Francine Hirsch is the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her first book Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (Cornell UP, 2005) received the Herbert Baxter Adams, Wayne S. Vucinich, and Council for European Studies book prizes. She specializes in Russian and

  • Stephan Talty, The Good Assassin (HMH, 2020)

    Stephan Talty, "The Good Assassin" (HMH, 2020)

    06/07/2020 Duração: 41min

    History that reads like a thriller; The Good Assassin: How A Mossad Agent and a Band of Survivors Hunted Down The Butcher of Latvia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020) by Stephan Talty is the untold story of an Israeli spy’s epic journey to bring the notorious Butcher of Latvia to justice—a case that altered the fates of all ex-Nazis. Before World War II, Herbert Cukurs was a famous figure in his small Latvian city, the “Charles Lindbergh of his country.” But by 1945, he was the Butcher of Latvia, a man who murdered some thirty thousand Latvian Jews. Somehow, he dodged the Nuremberg trials, fleeing to South America after war’s end. By 1965, as a statute of limitations on all Nazi war crimes threatened to expire, Germany sought to welcome previous concentration camp commanders, pogrom leaders, and executioners, as citizens. The global pursuit of Nazi criminals escalated to beat the looming deadline, and Mossad, the Israeli national intelligence agency, joined the cause. Yaakov Meidad, the brilliant Mossad agent

  • Adam Brown, Judging Privileged Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the Grey Zone (Berghahn, 2015)

    Adam Brown, "Judging 'Privileged' Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the 'Grey Zone'" (Berghahn, 2015)

    02/07/2020 Duração: 01h10min

    The Nazis’ persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust included the creation of prisoner hierarchies that forced victims to cooperate with their persecutors. Many in the camps and ghettos came to hold so-called “privileged” positions, and their behavior has often been judged as self-serving and harmful to fellow inmates. Such controversial figures constitute an intrinsically important, frequently misunderstood, and often taboo aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on Primo Levi’s concept of the “grey zone,” this study analyzes the passing of moral judgment on “privileged” Jews as represented by writers, such as Raul Hilberg, and in films, including Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Negotiating the problems and potentialities of “representing the unrepresentable,” Judging 'Privileged' Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the 'Grey Zone' (Berghahn Books) engages with issues that are fundamental to present-day attempts to understand the Holocaust and deeply relevant to reflectio

  • Vincent Bevins, The Jakarta Method (Public Affairs, 2020)

    Vincent Bevins, "The Jakarta Method" (Public Affairs, 2020)

    01/07/2020 Duração: 01h25min

    Why did the word “Jakarta” appear as graffiti on the streets of Santiago in 1973? Why did left-wing Chilean activists receive postcards in the mail with the ominous message “Jakarta is coming”? Why did a Brazilian general lose his temper in an interview with university students, threaten their safety, and yell the name of Indonesia’s capital city? In The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World (Public Affairs, 2020) journalist Vincent Bevins links the history of the overthrow of Sukarno – a leader of 1960s Third Worldism –, the rise of the Suharto – one of the most brutal and corrupt dictators – , and the slaughter of 500,000 to one million Indonesians allegedly linked to the Indonesian Community Party (the PKI) to the Latin American “dirty wars”, including Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Central America. This is a major achievement and something that very few scholars have been able to do. Bevins persuasively argues that the long-ignored and even silen

  • John Roosa, Buried Histories: The Anticommunist Massacres of 1965-1966 in Indonesia (U Wisconsin Press, 2020)

    John Roosa, "Buried Histories: The Anticommunist Massacres of 1965-1966 in Indonesia" (U Wisconsin Press, 2020)

    24/06/2020 Duração: 01h38min

    On the night of September 30/October 1, 1965, a bungled coup d’état resulted in the deaths of a handful of Indonesian generals and a young girl. Within days the Indonesian army claimed that the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), the largest communist party outside of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, was responsible. This set in motion the confusing, mysterious, and often perplexing events in 1965 that led to the downfall of Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno – an anti-imperialist who sought to combine the forces of nationalism, religion, and communism – and the rise of the authoritarian General Suharto who ruled Indonesia for 32 years – a period of far-right military dictatorship known as the New Order. As part of Suharto’s overthrow of Sukarno, the circle of officers around him incited regional officers to start a campaign of arrest, detention, torture, and mass murder of millions of Indonesians. We don’t have exact numbers, but somewhere between 500,000 and a million were killed and a

  • Gabriel Finder, Justice behind the Iron Curtain: Nazis on Trial in Communist Poland (U Toronto Press, 2018)

    Gabriel Finder, "Justice behind the Iron Curtain: Nazis on Trial in Communist Poland" (U Toronto Press, 2018)

    22/06/2020 Duração: 01h23min

    When Americans think about trials of Holocaust perpetrators, they generally think of the Nuremberg Trials or the trial of Adolf Eichmann or perhaps of the Frankfort trials of perpetrators from Auschwitz. If they think of Polish trials at all, they likely assume these were show trials driven by political goals rather than an interest in justice. Gabriel Finder and Alexander Prusin's book Justice behind the Iron Curtain: Nazis on Trial in Communist Poland (University of Toronto Press, 2018) shows that the truth was considerably more nuanced. The book is a comprehensive account of the trials of Nazi perpetrators conducted in liberated and postwar Poland. But it’s more than that—it’s a reflection on how politics impact justice, on what trials can teach us about perpetrator behavior, and on the ways in which ordinary Poles responded to the Holocaust. Finder and Prusin show that the trials were shaped by their political context. But this context allowed and sometimes encouraged the participation of a variety of act

  • David Slucki et al., Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust (Wayne State UP, 2020)

    David Slucki et al., "Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust" (Wayne State UP, 2020)

    22/06/2020 Duração: 01h12min

    In Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, 2020), Co-editors David Slucki, Loti Smorgon Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, Gabriel N. Finder, professor in the department of German Languages and Literatures and former director of the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia and Avinoam Patt, the Doris and Simon Konover Professor of Judaic Studies and director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life at the University of Connecticut, have assembled an impressive list of contributors who examine what is at stake in deploying humor in representing the Holocaust. This book comes at an important moment in the trajectory of Holocaust memory. As the generation of survivors continues to dwindle, there is great concern among scholars and community leaders about how memories and lessons of the Holocaust will be passed to future generations. Without survivors to t

  • John K. Roth, Sources of Holocaust Insight: Learning and Teaching about the Genocide (Cascade Books, 2020)

    John K. Roth, "Sources of Holocaust Insight: Learning and Teaching about the Genocide" (Cascade Books, 2020)

    15/06/2020 Duração: 01h15min

    At Newman I co-teach a class titled "The Holocaust and its Legacies." I teach the course with a Professor of Theology and it's designed to help students understand the ways in which the Holocaust shaped the world they live in. It is, in a sense, designed to help students gain insight. John K. Roth's new book Sources of Holocaust Insight: Learning and Teaching about the Genocide (Cascade Books, 2020) may become a required text in this course.  His book is different than, I think, any other books I’ve discussed on the show. It is a reflection, a tribute, and perhaps a kind of valedictory all at once. John reflects on the people who have taught him, in all the different ways teaching can happen, and the lessons that he’s learned over decades of thinking and writing about the Holocaust. In doing so, he offers the reader an insight both into his own development and into the way historians, theologians, philosophers and artists have responded to the Holocaust over time. It's a revealing book, sober, reflective and

  • A. D. Crosby and M. B. Lykes, In Beyond Repair? Mayan Women’s Protagonism in the Aftermath of Genocidal Harm (Rutgers UP, 2019)

    A. D. Crosby and M. B. Lykes, "In Beyond Repair? Mayan Women’s Protagonism in the Aftermath of Genocidal Harm" (Rutgers UP, 2019)

    10/06/2020 Duração: 01h13min

    In Beyond Repair? Mayan Women’s Protagonism in the Aftermath of Genocidal Harm (Rutgers University Press, 2019), Alison D. Crosby and M. Brinton Lykes draw on eight years of feminist participatory action research conducted with fifty-four Q’eqchi’, Kaqchikel, Chuj, and Mam women to explore Mayan women’s agency in their search for truth, justice, and reparation for harm suffered during the genocidal violence perpetrated by the Guatemalan state at the height of the thirty-six-year armed conflict. The book discusses the complexities of navigating, negotiating, and interpreting informal and formal justice processes, as participated in and experienced by protagonists, women’s rights activists, lawyers, psychologists, Mayan rights activists, and researchers who have accompanied them as intermediaries. Jeff Bachman is a senior lecturer in Human Rights at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. He is the author of the United States and Genocide: (Re)Defining the relationship and edito

  • Alexander Gendler, Khurbm 1914-1922: Prelude to the Holocaust (Varda Books, 2019)

    Alexander Gendler, "Khurbm 1914-1922: Prelude to the Holocaust" (Varda Books, 2019)

    08/06/2020 Duração: 01h09min

    The murder of two-thirds of European Jews, referred to by many as the Holocaust, did not begin June 22, 1941, with the German invasion of the Soviet Union, or September 1, 1939, with the beginning of WWII, or with 1938 Kristallnacht, or even with the 1933 rise of Hitler. According to Alexander Gendler, it began on August 1, 1914, with the start of WWI, of which WWII was just its continuation. It was then that Russia's Imperial Army of Nicholas II committed the now largely forgotten genocide of Russian Jews. His new book, Khurbm 1914-1922: Prelude to the Holocaust (Varda Books, 2019), is the most extensive collection of eye-witness testimonies and official communications revealing the genocidal destruction of Jewish life by the Russian army during World War I. Alexander Gendler, a former NPR “Morning Edition” commentator, syndicated columnist, and a contributing writer to the New York Times Op-Ed page, is the Editor-in-Chief of the Forgotten Genocide project sponsored by the Center for Jewish Life Studies. Rob

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