All About Evil

Barbarism was by no means unique to the past 100 years, Jonathan Glover tells us, but ''it is still right that much of 20th-century history has been a very unpleasant surprise.'' This was the century of Passchendaele, Dresden, Nanking, Nagasaki and Rwanda; of the Final Solution, the gulag, the Great Leap Forward, Year Zero and ethnic cleansing -- names that stand for killings in the six and seven figures and for suffering beyond comprehension. The technological progress that inspired the optimism of the Victorians turned out also to multiply the effects of old-fashioned evil and criminal stupidity.
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