Genocide and State Power
Taking Lives is a pivotal effort to reconstruct the social and political contexts of twentieth century, state-inspired mass murder. Irving Louis Horowitz re-examines genocide from a new perspective-viewing this issue as the defining element in the political sociology of our time. The fifth edition includes approximately 30 percent new materials with five new chapters. The work is divided into five parts: "Present as History Past as Prologue," "Future as Memory," "Toward A General Theory of State-Sponsored Crime," "Studying Genocide." The new edition concludes with chapters reviewing the natural history of genocide studies from 1945 to the present, along with a candid self-appraisal of the author's work in this field over four decades.
Taking Lives asserts that genocide is not a sporadic or random event, nor is it necessarily linked to economic development or social progress. Genocide is a special sort of mass destruction conducted with the approval of the state apparatus. Life and death issues are uniquely fundamental, since they alone serve as a precondition for the examination of all other issues. Such concerns move us beyond abstract, formalist frameworks into new ways of viewing the social study of the human condition. Nearly all reviewers of earlier editions have recognized this. Taking Lives is a fundamental work for political scientists, sociologists, and all those concerned with the state's propensity toward evil.
“Outstanding Title! Horowitz has significantly expanded and thoroughly revised this fourth edition of his classic study of genocide. Since its first publication (Genocide: State Power and Mass Murder, 1976), Taking Lives has been regarded as a pivotal attempt to analyze the sociopolitical context of mass murder. It asserts that genocide is not a random event or necessarily linked to social conditions… Among the mass killings analyzed are the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, and Yugoslavia… Imperative for students of genocide, comparative ethnic politics and human rights, and anyone concerned with the most fundamental moral issue of our time.”
—R. H. Dekmejian, Choice
"Taking Lives leaves no stone unturned in its thorough analysis....[It] is a critical, scholary reference not to be overlooked for political science and social reference shelves, as it shows new ways of viewing the human condition and how easy the state apparatus can be corrupted into a bludgeon of mass murder."
"Horowitz alerts us to a key question concerning sociological death, well within the tradition of Durkheim, Weber, Sorokin, and Mills."
"Horowitz has located the paramount feature that distinguishes one society from another. No one can evade his challenge to judge a society by the number of people it kills. Taking Lives is written with literary grace by a brilliant scholar and committed moralist."
—Charles C. Moskos
"This book will long be read not in the hackneyed sense of a 'social science classic' but because it will continue to state the case so brilliantly and persuasively for a human and creative democratic society."
—Anselm L. Strauss