Encyclopedia of War Crimes and Genocide

Horvitz, Leslie Alan & Christopher Catherwood. rev. ed. 2 vols. Facts On File. 2011. 346p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780816080830. $150. Online: Infobase eBooks REF
Freelance writer Horvitz and Royal Society Fellow Catherwood (Churchill's Folly) offer a brief but thorough examination of humans' mistreatment of one another during the modern era. This edition has been expanded from one to two volumes and contains at least 50 new entries for a total of more than 500. While much of the set discusses Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, the coverage also encompasses human rights violations in Uganda, Vietnam, the Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States (one entry discusses whether or not the government's actions in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp constitute a war crime). Although the quarter- to five-page entries tackle difficult subjects, they are accessible, and the authors do a respectable job of remaining politically neutral throughout. The brief biographical entries present what the subjects did to become notorious, the outcomes of their actions, and whether they are still alive. A few of those discussed (e.g., Louise Arbor, Simon Wiesenthal) have been notable in their fight for human rights. Some entries include bolded cross-references. Appendixes in Volume 2 present the text of selected documents such as the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, the UN's Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the Nuremberg laws. BOTTOM LINE A useful resource for anyone beginning research on human rights violations. While academic libraries will probably find the set most valuable, public libraries might also be interested.—James Langan, Univ. of Pittsburgh Lib. at Johnstown
Gr 9 Up—Human rights violations from the Nazi concentration camps to Abu Ghraib remain a topic of fierce debate and, as the editors of these volumes make clear, the situation since the work's original publication in 2006 "has continued to deteriorate in such countries as Afghanistan, China, Iran, and Russia." The 450 alphabetically arranged, country-oriented entries cover a wide variety of places, individuals, and concepts, examples of which include Darfur, humanitarian intervention, Manuel Noriega, and violations of women's rights. The cross-referenced entries range in length from a couple of paragraphs to several pages for well-known subjects such as al-Qaida and the war on terror and conclude with a short further-reading list. A small number of black-and-white photos are scattered throughout the presentation. Included in the appendixes to volume two are eight primary-source documents such as the Geneva Conventions and the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a list of resources such as Amnesty International, as well as a useful, lengthy bibliography that includes both print and online resources listed by type—"Encyclopedias, Guides, and Handbooks" and "Periodical Indexes/Databases," for example. Solidly written and expansive in scope, these volumes are ideal for supporting honors world history curriculums and will fill a niche in public library collections.—Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL
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