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A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
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Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize For General Nonfiction National Book Critics Circle Award Winner

In her award-winning interrogation of the last century of American history, Samantha Power -- a former Balkan war correspondent and founding executive director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy -- asks the haunting question: Why do American leaders who vow "never again" repeatedly fail to stop genocide? Drawing upon exclusive interviews with Washington's top policy makers, access to newly declassified documents, and her own reporting from the modern killing fields, Power provides the answer in "A Problem from Hell" -- a groundbreaking work that tells the stories of the courageous Americans who risked their careers and lives in an effort to get the United States to act.



During the three years (1993-1996) Samantha Power spent covering the grisly events in Bosnia and Srebrenica, she became increasingly frustrated with how little the United States was willing to do to counteract the genocide occurring there. After much research, she discovered a pattern: "The United States had never in its history intervened to stop genocide and had in fact rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred," she writes in this impressive book. Debunking the notion that U.S. leaders were unaware of the horrors as they were occurring against Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Iraqi Kurds, Rwandan Tutsis, and Bosnians during the past century, Power discusses how much was known and when, and argues that much human suffering could have been alleviated through a greater effort by the U.S. She does not claim that the U.S. alone could have prevented such horrors, but does make a convincing case that even a modest effort would have had significant impact. Based on declassified information, private papers, and interviews with more than 300 American policymakers, Power makes it clear that a lack of political will was the most significant factor for this failure to intervene. Some courageous U.S. leaders did work to combat and call attention to ethnic cleansing as it occurred, but the vast majority of politicians and diplomats ignored the issue, as did the American public, leading Power to note that "no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on." This powerful book is a call to make such indifference a thing of the past. --Shawn Carkonen

Customer Reviews:

  • A devastating chronicle of 'reasonable' villains and 'unreasonable heroes'
    June, 1989. Samantha Power, just finished with her freshman year at Yale, is working at CBS in Atlanta, preparing sports footage for the news. It's a dream job; she loves sports. Then, on the "feed" --- live, unedited footage, broadcast only within the network --- she sees Chinese troops attack students in Tiananmen Square. It's the most shocking thing she's ever seen. And she thinks, "Oh, my God. What am I doing with my life?"

    At Yale, she sharpens her focus, studying History and training herself to write. She graduates from Yale Law, gets a job at a foundation. But something nags at her, so she goes to Bosnia and becomes a correspondent. And, again, she is stunned. She sees the blood of slaughtered children, hears the accounts of the wholesale slaughter of Muslim men in football stadiums.

    When Power returns home, she sees Holocaust memorials and remembrances and hears the talk of "never again." And she asks herself: "How can it be that the Bosnian Muslims differ from past victims of genocide, who presumably, somewhere along the line, must have been aided for us to say 'never again,' as if we meant it?"

    She comes to a terrible conclusion: "It took about thirty seconds to realize that we had actually never aided the victims of genocide, never owned it as a foreign policy priority."

    Which leads her to the ultimate question: "Why? Not only why does this happen, because all the time there are gaps between promise and practice, but what are the stories that we're telling ourselves so that we're living with this dissonance without experiencing it as dissonance?"

    The answer is a giant of a book, so powerful and purposeful that it's like a home run rising as it clears the fence. "A Problem from Hell" won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for general non-fiction, and the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Prize for the best book on U.S. foreign policy; for her New Yorker article on the horrors in Darfur, Power won the 2005 National Magazine Award for reporting. In a word, she's the world expert on genocide.

    Power's findings will cheer no one: Americans lack the imagination to recognize evil. We don't want to believe that civilians are at risk in war zones. No one effectively pressures our politicians to do anything about genocide. To deaden our guilt, we note that atrocities occur on both sides, and we brand anyone who's really upset as "emotional." And "no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference."

    The proof comes in the form of stories, accounts of people who tried to stop genocide and how they fared. Power starts with the Turkish slaughter of Armenians. That's history, and no secret. Power's genius is to transition from these massacres to the story of Raphael Lemkin, a 21-year-old Polish Jew, who reads about one assassination in this campaign and wonders why, if it's a crime to kill one man, it isn't to kill a million. He becomes a lawyer, obsessed with the legal implications of slaughter. And then Hitler invades Poland.

    His parents won't leave. Like others, they trust Hitler to be rational. Lemkin flees to Sweden, gets a position teaching international law at Duke and comes to America. Here, he starts a one-man crusade to alert President Roosevelt and his aides that the Germans are exterminating Jews. But no one can see what he does. Churchill notes, "We are in the presence of a crime without a name."

    Lemkin begins to search for a single word that will convey the magnitude of these crimes. At length, he creates one --- genocide, partly from the Latin for "race" or "tribe" and partly from the Latin for "killing." A short word. Novel. Maybe, he hopes, unforgettable.

    Lemkin works tirelessly to create international laws against genocide. In 1948, the United Nations adopts a human rights treaty. Reporters look for Lemkin, to tell the story of his 15-year struggle. They find him in the darkened assembly hall, weeping. "Let me sit here alone," he begs, overcome by the years of work and the memory of murdered relatives.

    Lemkin's epic story had me --- and will have you --- in tears. But it's only the beginning. The word "holocaust" did not appear in The New York Times until 1959. The 1961 film, Judgment at Nuremberg, contained only a few references to Jews. "It was not really until the 1970s," Power writes, "that Americans became prepared to discuss the horrors."

    By then, there were fresh horrors. Power has compelling narratives about all of them: Cambodia, Saddam's Iraq, Rwanda ("the fastest, most effective killing spree of the twentieth century"), Bosnia. No one comes off well. Fans of Bill Clinton will especially wince.

    So what does "never again" really mean, Power asks. This: "Never again would Germans kill Jews in Europe in the 1940s." But this is not to say that American policy failed. "The U.S. record is one of success," Power concludes, with dry bitterness. "Troubling though it is to acknowledge, U.S. officials worked the system and the system worked."

    Could anything be different? Power quotes George Bernard Shaw: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

    Power's stories are devastating, her research exhaustive. To read her is to become changed forever, to know too much, to be a candidate for "unreasonable." Consider yourself warned
    ...more info
  • Good, if simplified call to arms against genocide
    While I have some issues with this work, it is, overall, a good piece of journalism and a major call to arms against the legacy of inertia when genocide is involved. Power delineates the history of the Genocide Convention and its applications. She also does great case studies of genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Cambodia showing the failures of US policy at the times of genocides.

    She is also unwilling to excuse inertia at the time of genocide for such excuses as national security and protection of American interest. The repulsion of protecting the Khmer Rouge for the sake of hurting Viet Nam is well acknowledged. The inaction in Rwanda because of the problems found in Somalia is equally well documented.

    My issues with this book stem neither from the facts nor from the general sentiment. They really arise in her oversimplification over several international issues. She uses the phrase "Turkey" as if such a nation existed at the time of the Armenian Genocide. She is constantly changing the words for ethnic groups that people use. And, she oversimplifies the American response specifically to the Cambodian Genocide. While I understand that it is warranted to a degree to keep the reader on the issue of specific genocides, in reality it seems that she may be trying to hide something for those who know the international situations at the times.

    All and all it is a good book. Her critique of the Clinton Administration, and its refusal to lead world opinion, is something that could be taken from the works of Zbigniew Brzezinski. Her call to arms against genocide is one that must be made so that we can say "Never again," again. Yet, her continuous over simplification of global situations seems to avoid the need for counterargument in the work. I would read it, but it is not a must read.
    ...more info
  • Informative, but.............
    This book was meticulously researched and is an invaluble tool on the topic of modern day genocide. I find it being one of those books that I refer back to frequently rather than one I read and just let sit on the bookshelf for eternity.

    However, it was ironic that Iraq was among the situations covered. It would seem that the decision by the U.S. to invade and the resulting slogan-storm that ensued from the Left would explain a great deal about why U.S. officials are so hesitant to act in the first place. Why did she not address this issue directly? If Bush Sr. is guilty for food credits to Iraq and inaction in Bosnia (I would agree with the guilty charge on both accounts) then where would an abstentionist, neutralist Left weigh in on the scale of guilt?

    It seems obvious that a U.S. President is often faced with the no-win situation of not acting and facing blame by future generations or by acting and facing the wrath of people who, truthfully, have more of an interest promoting a quiet life for themselves at the expense of those being opressed. No? Our inaction towards the Kurds was damnable.....what was Europe's excuse? France...who helped the perpetrator build a nuclear reactor? I would love to see another book from this perspective, or to have had the author address these issues a bit more thoroughly. How would more action on behalf of the rest of the world have assisted in this worthy endeavor of stopping the horrible blood-baths that continue, and will continue, to pop-up around the globe? These are largely unanswered by being alluded to only as a passing comment.

    But I'm getting political aren't I? Oh, well, how can you not when approaching this topic? Anyway, buy the book and support this excellent effort at shedding light on not only our past inaction, but on how the lives of mothers, daughters, fathers and sons whose lives and dignity hinge, in the most direct of ways, on our acting in a more unified manner in the future....more info

  • What about the Indians?
    The Armenians are here, the Jews are here, the Rwandans are here. Who's missing?

    Oh, yeah - the Native inhabitants of North America, who were largely exterminated by the United States, who she now expects to save everyone else!...more info

  • Scholarship from Hell
    The author of "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide", Samantha Power, is Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. This book deals with "genocide" in the 20th Century and the American reactions to "genocide". The author's stated primary purpose in writing this book is to sensitize both the US government and people at large about the disparity between the great power of America and its government's inadequacy in intervening to stop genocide wherever it is occurring.

    In order to explain the term of "genocide", its historical background and meaning, Power chose a number of case studies beginning with the Armenian Relocation, then the Holocaust, Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq and Rwanda. We will focus our comments and critique on the first chapter of the book called "Race Murder" that deals with the Ottoman - Armenian conflict during the First World War.

    Although the author has a legal background it is immediately obvious that she does not have a sufficient grounding in history to tackle a subject as sensitive and controversial as the Ottoman - Armenian conflict, the Armenian revolutionary movements and subsequent relocation of 1915 and its historical interpretation. This point is highlighted by the fact that she begins her book in a totally out of context manner by lauding and praising an Armenian, Soghomon Tehlerian, who assassinated Talat Pasha, one of the leaders of the Ottoman Empire during First World War. The author's claim that the relocation of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire was "genocide" is presented as a fact and with very little research or clear evidence to prove this claim. Her bias continues as the chapter refers to no Turkish documents, nor to any objective scholars' and experts' books on this issue. For example, little to no reference can be found to the extensive work carried our by Professors Bernard Lewis, Stanford Shaw and Justin McCarthy. In addition, even though the foundations to her claims lies in a book by the former US Ambassador to Istanbul, Henry Morgenthau: "Ambassador Morgenthau's Story", she does not mention the critique of that book, "The Story Behind Ambassador Morgenthau's Story" written by Heath W. Lowry. In his book, Lowry shows that there are many discrepancies between Morgenthau's book and his diary, letters and reports that were sent to the State Department.

    A number of crucial errors that need to be addressed can be found in the book. First of all, Power states that Talat Pasha ordered the roundup and execution of some 250 leading Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul. However, what she does not include is the fact that many of them were members of terrorist organizations and that their arrests came as a direct result of their attempts to provoke the Armenian populace to revolt and commit treason against the Ottoman Empire.

    Another claim of the author is that Sultan Abdulhamid II killed 200,000 Armenians in 1895 - 96. Once again these numbers are more akin to fiction than fact because Armenian organizations themselves, such as the British-based Anglo-Armenian Committee and Evangelical Alliance, put that figure at 20.000. Furthermore, these events occurred during mass rebellions by Armenians in Eastern Anatolia where many Muslims were also killed. The author also mentions that 1,5 million Armenians were killed during these events and the relocation process. However, demographic studies prove that prior to World War I, fewer than 1,5 million Armenians lived in the entire Ottoman Empire. Thus, allegations that more than 1.5 million Armenians from Eastern Anatolia died are false. Justin McCarthy's book "The Population of Ottoman Anatolia and the End of the Empire" covers the whole era and proves beyond doubt that the Armenian population of the Empire as a whole did not exceed 1.3 million. Of this number, hundreds and thousands indeed left for other regions before and during World War I, especially to what was to become Armenia proper, according to estimates given even by Armenian sources, and those who reached their final destination of Ottoman Syria.

    The third claim in Power's book is an anecdote in Morgenthau's Story where Talat Pasha allegedly asks Ambassador Morgenthau whether the United States could get the New York Life Insurance Company and Equitable Life of New York, which for years had done business with the Armenians, to send a complete list of the Armenian policyholders to the Turkish authorities. "They are practically all dead now and have left no heirs," Talat Pasha said. "The Government is the beneficiary now." However, Lowry has shown that no such conservation took place and that the only time Morgenthau discussed with Talat Pasha these insurance firms was on April 3, 1915. Lowry qualifies this by pointing out that these kinds of conservations and crucial meetings between Morgenthau and Talat Pasha were always reported to the State Department, but that in this case it was not. Lowry goes on to say that there are no documents in the US archives about such a conservation having ever taken place. Lowry, also adds that while Morgenthau was writing his book he was assisted by two Armenian colleagues, his secretary, Hagop S. Andonian and the legal adviser of the US Embassy, Arshag K. Schmavonian. As the Ambassador spoke no Turkish, French or Armenian, and did not travel outside of Istanbul, it can be suspected that their contributions have exceeded mere assistance.

    The most significant omission made by Ms. Power is the well-documented massacre of defenceless Muslims (Turks, Kurds and other ethnic groups) by Armenians during the First World War. Mass graves of Muslims in Eastern Anatolia near towns such as Kars, Erzurum and Van, cities occupied by Armenian assisted Russian forces, are testimony of the carnage inflicted upon civilian populations by the alliance of Armenians and Russians.

    As it is well known, in 1919, the British High Commission in Istanbul, utilizing Armenian informants, arrested 144 high Ottoman officials and deported them to the island of Malta to be out on trial on charges of a premeditated attempt to harm Armenians. While the deportees were interned in Malta, the British appointed an Armenian scholar Mr. Haig Khazarian, to conduct a thorough examination of the Ottoman, British and the US archives to substantiate the charges. Though he was granted complete access to all records, Khazarian's corps of investigators discovered no evidence to demonstrate that Ottoman officials had either sanctioned or encouraged the killing of Armenians. After two years and four months of detention without trial, the British Procurator General exonerated and released all 144 detainees.

    The author indicates in her book that in 1919 the Ottoman Government set up a tribunal in Istanbul that convicted two senior district officials for crimes committed against the Armenians and she hence concludes that by this action Ottomans had accepted the veracity of the Armenian Genocide claim. However, as she mentions in her book, there were 320,000 British soldiers in Istanbul who were exerting pressure on the Ottoman Sultan and the Government to come up with results. The impartiality of such a court must be called into question. Yet, even if the proceedings of this Court were to be accepted it must noted for the record that those persons who did not take sufficient measures to save and assist Armenians during the relocation were convicted, but that the Court did not accept the allegation of a plan to murder Armenians.

    In conclusion, although the author has a legal background, she blatantly plays prosecutor, judge and jury without giving the defendant a right of defence. She sentences the Turkish side to the high crime of genocide by omitting any Turkish point of view or that of other scholars, who do not subscribe to the Armenian orthodoxy, as regurgitated by Power, on this controversial issue. If one is going to level the crime of "genocide" against a nation, this ought to done not by reaching out to by hand-picking "evidence" and "scholars" to prove a pre-accepted verdict, but by looking at all available evidence and scholarship with an open mind and deciding whether it supports such an accusation. The duty of a scholar is to find and preserve the truth. It should not be to help perpetuate hate by disseminating bias as fact and outright lies as truth...more info

  • "A Current Review of Genocide 101"
    "A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide", Samantha Power, NY, Harper Perennial, 2003(2) 0-6-054164-4, PC 516 pgs., plus Preface 12 pgs., Notes 65 pgs., Biblio. 15 pgs., Ackn. 4 pgs., Index 38 pgs., 8" x 5 1/4"

    An editor, reporter, writer & Harvard Law & Yale graduate, Power is teacher & founding Director of Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard. Her book, a Pulitzer Prize winner & NY Times Bestseller, covers in 14 chapters more than a half-dozen genocide/massacres (Armenian, Cambodian, Iraqi, Bosnian, Rwandan, Srebrenican, Kosovon etc.) with commentary on major world powers, imprima the U.S. that, literally & repeatedly, did nothing to stave off mass murdering where "ethnic cleansing" may be the half-way house between Genocide & mass murder/extinction, etc.

    She recounts the Armenian Genocide & how "race murder" or concept of Genocide originated through efforts of its ideologue promulgator, Raphael Lemkin who battled incessantly seeking its passage through the UN General Asssembly & obtained intrepid support by Sen. Wm. Proxmire. Power gives a succint synopsis of the Genocides wreaked by Khmer Rouge on Cambodians under Pol Pot, Iraqi's killing of Kurds under Saddam Hussein, Serbian ethnic cleasing of Bosnian Muslims under Milosevic, Hutu eradication of Tutsi in Rwanda, & continued Serbian massacres of Muslims in Srebrenica & of Kosovo Albanians.

    The author's accountings via well-referenced notes & bibliography provides good timelines of widely publicized atrocities as they took place, reluctance of various administrations's to become involved & excuses of "did not know", "did not appreciate" or "chose not to (know)." On the contrary, U.S. even fostered Genocidal aggressors: to wit - UN voting favoring Khmer Rouge; supplying food & mfg. credits to Saddam Hussein as Kurds being destroyed; keeping arms embargo intact against defenseless Bosnia Muslims; & mandating withdrawl of UN peacekeekers from Rwanda. An imposing re-count of Genocides deserving to be read by those professing to be informed. ...more info
  • Magnum opus
    This is the best and most influential book I've ever read. In dealing with genocide and other human rights abuses, "experts" and partisans often present a false paradigm: full scale military invasion or nothing at all. Power's book systematically dismantles this myth. She points out that there is a whole range of options, beyond military intervention, in pushing for the end of genocide, mass murder and other grotesque human rights abuses. Targeted international sanctions, boycotts, media shaming, expulsion from international institutions, expulsion of ambassadors... Given the gravity of military intervention and its unintended consequences, Power rightly points out that these other "tools in the toolbox" should be tried first....more info
  • Holocaust trivialization effect
    According to this author the 20th century was "the age of genocide". Incredibly, in this massive narrative of over 600 pages she feels no need to address the phrase from the title. Having announced that the purpose of her book, in part, is to survey "the major genocides of the twentieth century" (p. xv) she celebrates "those who have refused to remain silent in the age of genocide" (p. xviii). This may be the only time the phrase occurs in this voluminous book. Hence, the idea that the twentieth century was the age of genocide is simply taken for granted. Power is not alone in so characterizing the past century; it is quite a trendy claim, in fact. Thus, according to R.J. Rummel's calculations the genocides of the twentieth century have killed more than four times as many people as all the wars and revolutions of the same time period combined. This way of counting causes of death is more than likely dubious, it fits with the fashionable nonsense du jour that we live in an age of genocide.

    This attitude of simply screaming "genocide" whenever one feels like it leads to the social phenomenon I call "genocidalism of commission" (see Aleksandar Jokic, "Genocidalism" The Journal of Ethics Vol. 8, No. 2, 2004, pp.251-250) defined thusly: the energetic attributions of "genocide" in less than clear cases without considering available and convincing opposing evidence and argumentation. Power's book is an example of genocidalist literature par excellence:

    The main theoretical "contribution" of the book is deeply flawed. Power chastises the U.S. and its policymakers for failing to respond to specific genocides in the twentieth century. Implausibly, the U.S. is presented as an ideal observer (as if angelic intelligence from heaven) that has no possible (let alone real) contributory causal role in mass-killings around the globe. For her the only question is why the U.S. regularly does nothing or too little, despite its unquestioned might, to ensure that genocide does not repeatedly occur. Her puzzle is this: Why the U.S. does not eradicate genocide once and for all? Ignoring the fact of genocides completed against a series of Native American nations in the century that just preceded the alleged "age of genocide" Power unconvincingly simply pretends that the U.S. is not capable of deploying the favorite trick of all empires, divide et impera, and engage in mass killings (or have it done by a proxy).

    Consequently, "genocidalism of commission," or genocidal use of "genocide," amounts to giving alleged "genocides" an inappropriate kind of attention: camouflaged as genuine concern for the evil contained in genocide the real interest is of another sort, e.g., the outcomes may have clear propagandistic connotation. This is morally inappropriate even when well grounded in the politically correct phraseology of the day, and applied to the geopolitically targeted groups selected for "treatment" by the super-power. It may be that the genocidalism of commission has as its ultimate aim or at least its consequences inevitably lead to the silence and cover up of real genocides. And the ultimate outcome of this practice is the trivialization of the Holocaust.
    ...more info
  • A must read for concerned citizens
    It seems that instances of genocide are increasing as the world becomes a global community. This excellent book undertakes several case studies of genocide and asks why the world's countries, and the US in particular does not respond to prevent such acts against humanity.
    If you dont think this book is necessary, see the review by justreviewingit below which calls the Armenian genocide the "Armenian Relocation"; this reviewer is an apologist for Turkish genocide. Holocaust deniers come in all forms and must be confronted with their evil. This book will help you do that
    when you hear " Pol Pot wasn't all that bad"....more info
  • a must-read
    flew through this book...its written with a great style and pace. power goes over quite a few crucial conflicts that still have aftershocks today. i read the section on rwanda in grad school, and it still makes my blood boil. also, power documents the efforts of republicans to block any actions or sanctions on iraq after hussein gassed the kurds and iranians in the 80's - of course now, they reference those crimes as reasons we were right to invade in 2003....more info
  • Thorough Study of Genocide History
    Samantha Power has produced a history of genocide through the 20th century. She presents an impressive accounts of genocide against Armenians in Turkey, Jews in Holocaust, Tutsi in Rwanda, Kurds in Iraq, and Bosnian Muslims in the Balkan war; the stories are extremely well-written, and the images are vivid. Apart from stories about the conflicts themselves, she gives credit to the individuals who contributed to political understanding of genocide and recognition of the term in international law. She puts heavy emphasis on the role of the United States in dealing with genocide, mostly taking the critical stance.

    The book is remarkably unbiased, as a great piece of journalist prose. Samantha Power spent several years in Bosnia as a reporter for the Western magazines, and her writing style evolved to reflect vivid images while passing information and truth to her reader. She is not judging the culprits of genocide, including a chapter about the war tribunals instead. That leaves the reader with an option of making one's own choices in thinking about genocide.

    The book is a great source of information on genocide, foreign policy of the United States, and the role of individuals in dealing with the "problems from hell." Simply brilliant reading and definitely worth your time!...more info
  • What About America's own Age of its Genocide?
    The phrase, "A Problem From Hell" is a gripping metaphor of our troubled times. And this is a meticulously research and well-written (although a bit dense for my taste) book adequately covering the tip of the iceberg of that subject.

    However, and meaning no disrespect to this brilliant author, it must be said that we have seen these sensitivities and sensibilities come and go before in the form of eagle scout exuberance, and mostly liberal-leaning "do-gooder" NGOs, and neophyte overly excitable roving reporters. And while we could throw up a whole of wall of clich¨¦s that would better make my larger point, it must be said that "trading in" self-righteous indignation" very much after the fact is a "detail" but hardly a policy prescription, and certainly not a useful way to solve complex international problems.

    Yes, it is true that rather than enter World War I, which would surely have been the result had the U.S. intervened on behalf of the Armenians against the Turks in 1915-1916 does leave a lasting bitter taste in the mouth. Or, the same can be said for the rationalizations against bombing the railroads leading to the Nazi concentration camps, or not allowing more Jews fleeing those horrors to enter the U.S., or moving too slowly and too late in Yugoslavia, or not at all to stop the genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda - and even today, of making sweet sounding noises but doing nothing in Darfur.

    And although, as the last standing superpower we may have had (and may still have) a "special responsibility" to use our power to intervene in many of these instances, we are not the only members of the international community that must live with the moral guilt of our own international cowardliness and "chosen ability" not to act to save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

    Despite this, since every U.S. President who has had to face an ongoing questions of genocide, has also found convenient ways to either ignore or rationalize them away, we must ask the question at the subtext of this research: Are these then all just matters of cold-blooded raw calculations of rational decision making? Or simply just cases of weighing national means and costs against rational ends and returns to the national interests? Rather than questions of pure morality? Or is there something deeper going on here?

    Far be it for me to rain on the author's award winning parade.

    However it must be said, if only in passing, that it is curious indeed how a book on genocide can take the U.S to task and at the same time simply leap frog right over the most sordid aspects of the U.S. own genocidal history and find a neat landing in an island clearing that is as morally pristine as it is naive:

    Neither the genocide against Native Americans nor against African Americans during slavery merited even so much as a footnote in the book, apparently neither was relevant enough to be mentioned, even once. Like a cat, somehow the author manages to land on both feet in a clearing on the other side of this historical messiness with her humanity, morality, innocence and self-righteous indignation, all still unperturbed and perfectly intact. How can this be done?

    If genocide at home has no more moral meaning or consequence than that, then maybe doing nothing is the prefect answer to all genocide, whether home or abroad, and whether in the past, present or the future. If we use past U.S. sensitivity to genocide as a guide, one would be led to ask: Where is the problem? Maybe the author is doing exactly what one raised in the U.S. should do: pretend that that there is no connection between the past and the future, and just keep leaping over to the next moral clearing. After all we did not fail to sign the International Treaty Against Genocide without a good reason?

    This moral prestidigitation of course has its own precedents and raises its own separate questions: Can a nation that fails to confront honestly the genocide in its own closeted past really be expected to intervene when it occurs in the international arena? Yes, it is sad that in every instance that we had the chance to, except Yugoslavia, we failed to muster the moral strength and courage to intervene. But it is infinitely sadder not to realize that this cowardliness stems in part, directly from our own domestic home-grown genocidal experiences. As a final note, perhaps it is a little known fact that it was the U.S. Eugenics program that served as the model for Hitler's "Final Solution. What is the clich¨¦ about charity begins at home?

    Four Stars...more info
  • What About America's own Age of its Genocide?
    The phrase, "A Problem From Hell" is a gripping metaphor of our troubled times. And this is a meticulously research and well-written (although a bit dense for my taste) book adequately covering the tip of the iceberg of that subject.

    However, and meaning no disrespect to this brilliant author, it must be said that we have seen these sensitivities and sensibilities come and go before in the form of eagle scout exuberance, and mostly liberal-leaning "do-gooder" NGOs, and neophyte overly excitable roving reporters. And while we could throw up a whole of wall of clich¨¦s that would better make my larger point, it must be said that "trading in" self-righteous indignation" very much after the fact is a "detail" but hardly a policy prescription, and certainly not a useful way to solve complex international problems.

    Yes, it is true that rather than enter World War I, which would surely have been the result had the U.S. intervened on behalf of the Armenians against the Turks in 1915-1916 does leave a lasting bitter taste in the mouth. Or, the same can be said for the rationalizations against bombing the railroads leading to the Nazi concentration camps, or not allowing more Jews fleeing those horrors to enter the U.S., or moving too slowly and too late in Yugoslavia, or not at all to stop the genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda - and even today, of making sweet sounding noises but doing nothing in Darfur.

    And although, as the last standing superpower we may have had (and may still have) a "special responsibility" to use our power to intervene in many of these instances, we are not the only members of the international community that must live with the moral guilt of our own international cowardliness and "chosen ability" not to act to save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

    Despite this, since every U.S. President who has had to face an ongoing questions of genocide, has also found convenient ways to either ignore or rationalize them away, we must ask the question at the subtext of this research: Are these then all just matters of cold-blooded raw calculations of rational decision making? Or simply just cases of weighing national means and costs against rational ends and returns to the national interests? Rather than questions of pure morality? Or is there something deeper going on here?

    Far be it for me to rain on the author's award winning parade.

    However it must be said, if only in passing, that it is curious indeed how a book on genocide can take the U.S to task and at the same time simply leap frog right over the most sordid aspects of the U.S. own genocidal history and find a neat landing in an island clearing that is as morally pristine as it is naive:

    Neither the genocide against Native Americans nor against African Americans during slavery merited even so much as a footnote in the book, apparently neither was relevant enough to be mentioned, even once. Like a cat, somehow the author manages to land on both feet in a clearing on the other side of this historical messiness with her humanity, morality, innocence and self-righteous indignation, all still unperturbed and perfectly intact. How can this be done?

    If genocide at home has no more moral meaning or consequence than that, then maybe doing nothing is the prefect answer to all genocide, whether home or abroad, and whether in the past, present or the future. If we use past U.S. sensitivity to genocide as a guide, one would be led to ask: Where is the problem? Maybe the author is doing exactly what one raised in the U.S. should do: pretend that that there is no connection between the past and the future, and just keep leaping over to the next moral clearing. After all we did not fail to sign the International Treaty Against Genocide without a good reason?

    This moral prestidigitation of course has its own precedents and raises its own separate questions: Can a nation that fails to confront honestly the genocide in its own closeted past really be expected to intervene when it occurs in the international arena? Yes, it is sad that in every instance that we had the chance to, except Yugoslavia, we failed to muster the moral strength and courage to intervene. But it is infinitely sadder not to realize that this cowardliness stems in part, directly from our own domestic home-grown genocidal experiences. As a final note, perhaps it is a little known fact that it was the U.S. Eugenics program that served as the model for Hitler's "Final Solution. What is the clich¨¦ about charity begins at home?

    Four Stars...more info
  • Holocaust trivialization effect
    According to this author the 20th century was "the age of genocide". Incredibly, in this massive narrative of over 600 pages she feels no need to address the phrase from the title. Having announced that the purpose of her book, in part, is to survey "the major genocides of the twentieth century" (p. xv) she celebrates "those who have refused to remain silent in the age of genocide" (p. xviii). This may be the only time the phrase occurs in this voluminous book. Hence, the idea that the twentieth century was the age of genocide is simply taken for granted. Power is not alone in so characterizing the past century; it is quite a trendy claim, in fact. Thus, according to R.J. Rummel's calculations the genocides of the twentieth century have killed more than four times as many people as all the wars and revolutions of the same time period combined. This way of counting causes of death is more than likely dubious, it fits with the fashionable nonsense du jour that we live in an age of genocide.

    This attitude of simply screaming "genocide" whenever one feels like it leads to the social phenomenon I call "genocidalism of commission" (see Aleksandar Jokic, "Genocidalism" The Journal of Ethics Vol. 8, No. 2, 2004, pp.251-250) defined thusly: the energetic attributions of "genocide" in less than clear cases without considering available and convincing opposing evidence and argumentation. Power's book is an example of genocidalist literature par excellence:

    The main theoretical "contribution" of the book is deeply flawed. Power chastises the U.S. and its policymakers for failing to respond to specific genocides in the twentieth century. Implausibly, the U.S. is presented as an ideal observer (as if angelic intelligence from heaven) that has no possible (let alone real) contributory causal role in mass-killings around the globe. For her the only question is why the U.S. regularly does nothing or too little, despite its unquestioned might, to ensure that genocide does not repeatedly occur. Her puzzle is this: Why the U.S. does not eradicate genocide once and for all? Ignoring the fact of genocides completed against a series of Native American nations in the century that just preceded the alleged "age of genocide" Power unconvincingly simply pretends that the U.S. is not capable of deploying the favorite trick of all empires, divide et impera, and engage in mass killings (or have it done by a proxy).

    Consequently, "genocidalism of commission," or genocidal use of "genocide," amounts to giving alleged "genocides" an inappropriate kind of attention: camouflaged as genuine concern for the evil contained in genocide the real interest is of another sort, e.g., the outcomes may have clear propagandistic connotation. This is morally inappropriate even when well grounded in the politically correct phraseology of the day, and applied to the geopolitically targeted groups selected for "treatment" by the super-power. It may be that the genocidalism of commission has as its ultimate aim or at least its consequences inevitably lead to the silence and cover up of real genocides. And the ultimate outcome of this practice is the trivialization of the Holocaust.
    ...more info
  • An important book to read
    I found this book incredibly insightful. The book is a thoughtful narration on why genocide is difficult to confront. From the United States perspective, the author explains why time after time, among different administrations, liberal or conservative, leaders and common folk choose to ignore genocide. What does anyone personally have to gain from stopping genocide? Very little and requires tremendous sacrifice. The subject matter is not easy to read but the author skillfully tells personal stories to make this a compelling and dramatic read. I highly recommend this book. ...more info
  • Good, if simplified call to arms against genocide
    While I have some issues with this work, it is, overall, a good piece of journalism and a major call to arms against the legacy of inertia when genocide is involved. Power delineates the history of the Genocide Convention and its applications. She also does great case studies of genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Cambodia showing the failures of US policy at the times of genocides.

    She is also unwilling to excuse inertia at the time of genocide for such excuses as national security and protection of American interest. The repulsion of protecting the Khmer Rouge for the sake of hurting Viet Nam is well acknowledged. The inaction in Rwanda because of the problems found in Somalia is equally well documented.

    My issues with this book stem neither from the facts nor from the general sentiment. They really arise in her oversimplification over several international issues. She uses the phrase "Turkey" as if such a nation existed at the time of the Armenian Genocide. She is constantly changing the words for ethnic groups that people use. And, she oversimplifies the American response specifically to the Cambodian Genocide. While I understand that it is warranted to a degree to keep the reader on the issue of specific genocides, in reality it seems that she may be trying to hide something for those who know the international situations at the times.

    All and all it is a good book. Her critique of the Clinton Administration, and its refusal to lead world opinion, is something that could be taken from the works of Zbigniew Brzezinski. Her call to arms against genocide is one that must be made so that we can say "Never again," again. Yet, her continuous over simplification of global situations seems to avoid the need for counterargument in the work. I would read it, but it is not a must read.
    ...more info
  • Incredible piece of scholarship
    Many of the negative reviews of this book have either decried it for depicting the Armenian genocide or dismissed it as liberal hackery. Both of these objections are spurious. Power has duly researched the Armenian genocide and simply documented the American and international responses to it. Many of the objections actually try to implicate the Armenians as provoking the Turkish authorities into the genocide, while others deny anything took place at all.

    As for the charges of a liberal bias, absolutely none exists. And I wonder if anyone who alleges it has actually read the book. One reviewer actually calls Power a communist sympathizer for not reporting on Chinese and Russian atrocities. This absence is understandable when one looks at the fact that American legislators never missed an opportunity to wave moral superiority over Russian and Chinese communists. We almost always criticized them for that sort of the thing. Hell, one of the main reasons for the passage of the Helsinki convention was to be able to criticize the communists for failing to live up to its ratification. There is no liberal bias in this book. Power lauds Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole for making the Balkan genocides a campaign issue, even going so far as to buck the many dissenters in his party. Indeed, even Jesse Helms receives a paean for calling on the Clinton administration to apprehend war criminals. Clinton himself receives a hearty dose of criticism for his languid responses to genocide in Rwanda and the Balkans.

    This book is brilliant. Anyone curious about the heroes and villains of twentieth century genocide will be satisfied after reading this....more info

  • america's feckless self-interest
    As I write the world has just commemorated the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, including the obligatory refrain of "never again." But in the Darfur region of western Sudan about a million people have been displaced and poured into eastern Chad, fleeing systematic rape, pillage and burning of villages by government-backed Janjaweed militias whose goal is to purge the country of their darker skinned fellow Muslims.

    What has the world done? Pretty much nothing. Once you read Samantha Power's book you will not be surprised. Power's long treatise won a Pulitzer and virtually unanimous praise as a brilliant volume on a disturbingly familiar problem in our world.

    Power traces the history of the term "genocide," a neo-logism created by the eccentric and brilliant Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew who almost single-handedly thrust the issue of genocide onto the world stage. On October 16, 1950, after seventeen years of Lemkin's labor, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was finally ratified by the United Nations. She also traces the history of the world's major genocides--Armenia, Jews, Cambodia, Iraqi Kurds, Bosnia, Rwanda, Srebrenica, and Kosovo.

    It took the United States thirty-eight years to sign the convention; ninety-seven nations had ratified the convention before us (p. 165). This is consistent with our overall history and response to genocide, Power concludes. Across time, place, ideology and geopolitics, the US has remained consistently passive in the face of genocide. Despite graphic images and evidence of genocide, we lack the moral imagination to believe the unbelievable. Politicians calculate that the indifference of the public means their own indifference will cost nothing, whereas involvement in genocides can be very costly. In short, we are a nation of predictable "bystanders" when it comes to genocide....more info
  • An Awesome Work!
    This outstanding book was difficult to put down, and even more difficult to stop thinking about. Its topic was burdensome, sad, terribly unrelenting and tragic. Samantha Power's thorough research, well documented bibliography, and clean articulate writing style made the reading of such a depressing topic interesting and compelling. This book took me about a month of careful reading to complete and I highly recommend it.

    What disturbs me more than the topic of Ms. Power's book, however, is the lengthy and jumbled review below entitled "Scholarship from Hell." The reviewer is engaging in sophistry designed to discredit Ms. Power and mislead. Beginning with the phrase "Armenian Relocation" the reviewer spirals into ten, inarticulate, horribly written and confusing paragraphs whose sole intent is to misdirect and mislead. Notice the use of the phrase "Ottoman-Armenian Conflict" giving the impression of moral equivalence and balance. In paragraph three, he then attempts to discredit Ms. Power - and subsequently her book - by claiming she did not utilize "objective sources" and as having "...a lack of sufficient grounding in history to tackle a subject as sensitive and controversial as the Ottoman-Armenian conflict." There is nothing controversial or sensitive about the Armenian Genocide, and the careful construction of this babble, undermines Ms Power and devalues the awesome bulwark of research she has undertaken and produced, and is intended to mislead the reader by throwing as much junk at the wall as possible and hoping that some of it sticks. Despite the fact that Ms. Power's work is almost seven hundred pages long (with a bibliography as long as a short novel), the reviewer claims that she fails to refer to "objective scholars" in reference to the Armenian Genocide.

    References used by Ms Power include numerous newspaper and magazine articles published in 1915 when supposedly this "sensitive" and "controversial" "Ottoman-Armenian conflict" was at its height. The New York Times had very little doubt about what was occurring in Anatolia since in 1915 alone the Times published almost two hundred detailed articles - including dates, numbers of casualties, villages destroyed etc - about the slaughter of innocent Armenian men, women and children by the Ottoman Army.

    Ms Power also references Henry Morgenthau the United States Ambassador to Turkey during World War One. It is almost comical to read the lame attempt by the reviewer at discrediting an ambassador of the United States, and the ridiculous suggestion that if you really want to understand Ambassador Morgenthau's memoirs and his "interpretation" of the "controversy regarding the Ottoman-Armenian conflict" that a book by some offbeat writer gives more information than Morgenthau's own words. Apparently his idea of an objective source does not include the memoirs of a U.S. Ambassador - nor the army of diplomats British, French and American - who were strewn all over Anatolia and who wrote voluminous accounts of the well organized genocide.

    Other trustworthy objective references made by Ms Power include memoirs written by American and European missionaries, references to memoirs written by Ambassador Viscount Bryce (British Ambassador to the US), the renowned British historian Christopher Walker, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, Arnold Toynbee, etc. This is a stellar bibliography. In stark contrast the reviewer offers no contemporary sources for his claim that the Armenian Genocide is controversial, sensitive or can be categorized as merely a "conflict." .

    In addition the reviewer says nothing about all the other Genocides covered in the book and whether or not Ms. Power did a trustworthy job of covering them. Thus, presumably, Ms. Power had the "historical grounding" and sophistication to get everything else regarding all the other genocides in these seven hundred pages correct and properly documented except for the Armenian Genocide. Of course this begs the question, if she was sufficiently ungrounded to the point of getting the Armenian Genocide incorrect why should I believe anything that she has to say about the other genocides. And conversely, if her documentation is trustworthy about all the other genocides why should I not believe that she got everything correct and properly documented regarding the Armenian genocide?

    The point is Ms. Power got everything correct. Genocide scholars, Holocaust scholars and professors from around the world have hailed her book as a monumental benchmark. The goal of the reviewer is to put forth a carefully worded babbling denial that actually does more than simply deny, and does more than simply babble. The reviewer also seeks to blame the victim, and also shroud the events of 1915-1922 behind a scrim of supposed controversy where there is no controversy. The reviewer's goal is not even to re-write history, but rather to paint a situation that seems so hopelessly confused that one would need a doctorate to figure it out. The Armenian Genocide is neither "controversial" nor is it confusing, nor is it a "sensitive" issue (though I am sure it is a sensitive issue if your grandfather was one of the perpetrators of the crime) nor does one need a doctorate to understand it. The Armenian Genocide was a carefully planned genocide by Talat Pasha and Enver Pasha who used a well-trained Ottoman Army, to murder 1.5 million innocent men, women and children. It had nothing to do with World War One (except to the extent that the War was used as a cover,) it had nothing to do with the Russians, it had nothing to do with "relocation," it was all about hate, power, envy and jealousy - the Armenians were a peaceful people who had lived on their ancestral lands for 2,500 years. In "A Scholarship from Hell" the reviewer's careful rambling use of words attempts to sow confusion where none exists, and bring into question the credibility of Ms Power and her research methods, thus rendering anything she has to say irrelevant.

    Ms. Power has written an awesome, trustworthy account of Genocide in the 20th century. It is a heavy, time-consuming read, but it is also one of the best non-fiction books I have read in the last five years....more info

  • An amazingly well researched analysis.
    As many Pullitzer prize winning books often fall to high expectations, alas, there is one which does not. Samantha Power's amazingly well researched analysis of American (and worldly) foreign policy during times of genocide is a rare breed, in that it delivers to the level which any "gold star" book is expected to.

    Power, a highly qualified author for a book on a subject like genocide, obviously had great passion for the premise behind this book. Each argument she sets forth is backed up not only with hard evidence (which believe me, there is a bounty of), but also of her own experiences. Therefore, this book flows like a novel, but has the logicality of a textbook.

    The one area in which this book loses some points (and it is not a glaring problem, but forced me to give a 4, since 5 merits only near perfection), is that a few of Power's assertions (mostly in the chaper on Kosovo) are highly debatable. She begins to disregard the obstacles which the U.S. government faced. This disappointed me because her other assertions took into full-mind these problems. However, as I stated just one moment ago, ten of her eleven chapters are carefully thought out.

    In the end, I feel that anyone who wishes to offer an informed view of American foreign policy must read this book. It includes a wealth of information which proves Power's bold claims, and as a result does not leave much room for an equally respectable retort. Secondly, this book, like almost every Pullitzer Prize winner in the nonfiction category, is superbly written in stark and powerful prose....more info

  • America's (lack of) response to genocide
    While this book is far from perfect, it certainly is the most comprehensive examination of the issue of genocide that I have come across. It's also an extremely compelling condemnation of America's lack of will in responding to genocide when it occurs.

    Power begins with a look at the origins of the term "genocide." One of the many things I learned from this book is that the term is relatively young; in fact, it did not come into existence until after World War II, when a genocide survivor by the name of Raphael Lemkin introduced it into the English language. The story of Lemkin's life and his struggle to bring cases of genocide to the attention of American policymakers is one of the many inspiring, though frustrating, narratives in this book.

    After a useful overview of what genocide actually means, Power methodically takes us through cases of genocide in the 20th century. She gives six examples: the Armenians in Turkey in the 1920s, the Holocaust, the reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Iraqi oppression of the Kurds, the Tutsi in Rwanda, and the Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo. For each she makes a solid argument for why these atrocities should be considered genocide. She also gives a systematic analysis of how the U.S. responded, or in many cases didn't respond. She argues that it was not for lack of knowledge, nor for lack of ability, but rather for lack of political will that America delayed taking action or refused to take any action at all. In Cambodia, the wounds from Vietnam were too fresh to justify another South East Asian military intervention. In Iraq, our hopes of maintaining a strong opponent to Iran in the Middle East prevented us from taking a hard line against Saddam in the 1980s. In Rwanda, our failures in Somalia still haunted us. And of course the underlying theme in all of these cases was that policymakers in both the executive and legislative branches of government consistently fell back on their belief that preventing genocide in faraway places was not of interest to the American people, and therefore was not good politics.

    Power is highly critical of U.S. policy, but to her credit she is critical consistently across the board. The book is non-partisan; she attacks the Reagan and Bush Administrations as much as she does the Clinton Administration. She also casts blame fairly evenly between the policymakers at the White House and State Department and the legislators in Congress. It is also important to note that she goes to great efforts to recognize those elected officials and career civil and foreign servants who went to great lengths to make the prevention of genocide a top foreign policy priority....more info

  • Great beginner's book on genocide
    Power is one of those MUST-READ authors if you plan on doing any serious study of genocide. Genocide, which is NOT the same as ethnic cleansing - as she intricately describes, did not ONLY happen during WW2 as most people would believe. The Holocaust has NOT been the only incident of genocide in the 20th century and Power accurately reports on the various genocides of the 20th century. However, more important about this book, is Power's analysis of WHY the U.S. doesn't ACT when genocide is going on (which by the way, is what they SHOULD do if they're to follow international law). This is a great book, and though very gruesome, it's something everyone should read so we're all a bit less ignorant about the horrors of humanity. It's ESPECIALLY frightening, after reading this book, hearing the anti-Muslim sentiments of many Americans. Like Power shows, genocide can happen anywhere, and if one notes the patterns in the genocides of the 20th century, it definitely could happen here one day. This is an amazing book, but not one for the easily disturbed....more info
  • Genocide and beyond
    This book is a great resource on Genocide. The author has done her homewowrk on the subject and it shows. ...more info
  • I could not put this book down . . .
    "A Problem From Hell" is what Secretary of State Warren Christopher called the Bosnia war. After the author, Samantha Power, reported on that war, she studied the beginnings and ends of some other major genocides of the 20th century. This book is her report, and it is stunning, not as an indictment of anyone, but as a revelation to us all.

    First, the beginning: Genocide begins with the policy choice of a man in command of a sovereign state to achieve state aims by killing pre-identified citizens. The book details the policies of the Young Turk Mehmed Talaat Pasha, Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Colonel Bagosora, and Slobodan Milosevic.

    Second, the end: Genocide cannot be prevented or ended from the outside if respect of national sovereignty trumps other values, which it usually does. Even if international effort or an invasion from the outside runs over national sovereignty, genocide is unlikely to be stopped unless the suffering is personally witnessed. Genocide stops when individuals who MUST fight evil act to end it. The book tells the uplifting story of a number of heroic individuals who became political Good Samaritans to help the victims of genocide. The first of these was Raphael Lemkin, who coined the work "genocide." Read the book to find out who the others are -- you will be pleased and surprised to learn of the actions of some very selfless Americans.

    This book was the parable of the Good Samaritan writ large. Most of us choose to walk by on the other side of the road when the thief attacks the victim, the better not to see the victim's terror and suffering. This book should jolt us out of that habit, and if you opposed our invasion of Iraq, you might find solace in knowing that we deposed a perpetrator of genocide....more info

  • Never Again?
    I've never written a review before, but after reading the one star comment of another reader, I felt compelled to respond with a review of my own. To say this is an enjoyable book would be a stretch--- When the subject matter is Genocide, you should not expect a fast, easy, light read. However, I found this book to be extremely compelling and informative. As a teacher of world history, I have frequently taught high school students about the Holocaust. The most common consensus of the students seems to be "that was then-- this could never happen again today..." This book shows that not only has genocide happened, but it continues to happen. I don't know the answers. I am not sure if the cause is a lack of political will, willfull ignorance of the suffering of others, or this generations' desensitization of violence. I don't think this book gives answers as much as it asks questions and informs readers. Far from trivializing the Holocaust and other genocides, this powerful book introduces readers to attrocities that they should be aware of, but probably are not. ...more info
  • A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
    The scholarship alone is a recommendation; it is no wonder this book took out a Pulitzer Prize. Powers blend the history of genocide and the US response to this phenomenon. The work is as informative as it is disturbing. ...more info
  • This is an awesome book
    In this book Samantha Power focuses on the history of genocide in the 20th Century and the American government's responses in a way that goes beyond simply recounting the horrific details. By juxtaposing these two elements the book lead me to view this ever-current topic - the penchant to kill ethnicities - in a way that left me asking questions I'd never thought to ask before.
    I am no stranger to the topic of genocide. My grandmother escaped the Turkish/Kurdish slaughter and deportation of Armenians in 1915 and told us her tale until she died at 94! The best revenge is survival. But Power's book raised questions in my mind that are generally left from the discourse of American life.
    How do we respond to genocide? Are we people of a nation or people of the world? Should a politically-constructed border really justify inaction? And if we resolve to take action, what is that action? Is force alone enough? Or do we need a paradigm shift in our view of our responsibility to human beings across the globe?
    A Problem From Hell is a profound book. I thought and felt things I'd never considered before.
    I highly recommend this book. Every page expanded my view of the world.
    ...more info