FINAL SOLUTIONS: Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century. By Benjamin A. Valentino. Cornell Univ. Press. 317 pp. $29.95
"If we hope to anticipate mass killing, we must begin to think of it in the same way its perpetrators do," writes Benjamin Valentino, a political scientist at Dadmouth College. Isn't mass killing simply the outermost consequence of irrational group hatred? That's the traditional perspective on it, but Valentino believes otherwise. In his view, mass killing represents a rational choice of elites to achieve or stay in political power in the face of perceived threats to their dominance.
Valentino develops his argument through eight case studies. Three fit the legal definition of genocide (the intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a "national, ethnical, racial, or religious group"): Armenia, the Holocaust, and Rwanda. The remaining five amount to what...
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