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Main page » Dictionaries and Encyclopedias » The Encyclopedia of Genocide

The Encyclopedia of Genocide


The Encyclopedia of Genocide is the first reference work to chart the full extent of this horrific subject with objectivity and authority. The Nazi Holocaust; the genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia; and the eradication of indigenous peoples around the world are all covered in A-Z entries, written by almost 100 experts from many countries.

Other topics include treatment of survivors; the bewildering variety of definitions of genocide; detection, investigation, and prevention; psychology and ideology; the often contentious literature on the subject; scholars and organizations; and the important and controversial topic of genocide denial.

Among the wide range of contributors are Peter Balakian, Yehuda Bauer, M. Cherif Bassiouni, Michael Berenbaum, Ward Churchill, Vahakn Dadrian, Helen Fein, Ted Robert Gurr, Ian Hancock, Barbara Harff, Irving Louis Horowitz, Kurt Jonassohn, Ben Kiernan, David Krieger, René Lemarchand, Deborah Lipstadt, Franklin Littell, Robert Jay Lifton, Jack Porter, R.J. Rummel, Roger Smith, Colin Tatz, Elie Wiesel, and Simon Wiesenthal.


Charny, executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, has edited a unique encyclopedia. In addition to forewords by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Simon Wiesenthal, nearly 100 people are contributors to this work, which emphasizes events of genocide in the twentieth century. All entries are signed, and many contain selections for further reading. The front of each volume includes both a complete alphabetical list of entries and a more detailed contents list that includes contributors' names and cross-references.

Content is divided into two parts. Part one, "Definitions of Genocide and the Study of Genocide," contains several fairly long essays on important concepts such as democide and the use of the word holocaust. In part two, "Genocidal Events, Intervention, and Prevention," entries are in alphabetical order, from Adana massacre (one of a series of large-scale massacres of Armenians in the early twentieth century) to Yugoslavia, genocide in. A number of the entries are biographical, for individuals ranging from Genghis Khan to Elie Wiesel. Many entries include sidebars that present supplemental and background information and verbatim texts of genocide-related documents. Each entry concludes with a short bibliography.

The "How to Use This Encyclopedia" that introduces each volume suggests searching the table of contents to locate topics of interest. This is no easy task, however, because the contents list is confusing; the detailed index is a much more straightforward route to information. In addition, more attention to design details would have improved both the encyclopedia's look and its ease of use. Much of the sidebar material is not documented adequately. Attribution is either to "Press Reports" or to individuals, with no citations for specific news sources, speeches, books, articles, etc.

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