A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur
Yale University Press
Winner of the US German Studies Association’s 2009 Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize
The terms “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” were both coined in the 20th century to describe the attempted extermination of a specific group of people by their own government. Genocide was first used in 1944 in regard to the Holocaust, and ethnic cleansing was first used in the early 1990s to describe the policies of Bosnian Serb militias against Muslim civilians after the breakup of Yugoslavia. But the concepts and the practices have been in use for much longer.
Blood and Soil is a ground-breaking global history that reveals connections between the various ideologies, psychologies and personalities that have propelled the major human-directed disasters of modern history. This understanding is crucial if we are to go beyond description to prevention. In Blood and Soil, Ben Kiernan makes an urgent case for understanding the past as the best means to recognize and avoid genocide in the future.
The German edition, Erde und Blut: Völkermord und Vernichtung von der Antike bis heute, won first place in Süddeutsche Zeitung and NDR Kultur’s Nonfiction Book of the Month Prize in June 2009.