Friday, January 22, 2010

Becoming Evil: How ordinary people commit genocide and mass killing, by James Waller

Over the years Phil Paine and I have occasionally sat down and talked about some book that we wished existed. One such book was "Famous Social Science Experiments You Should Know About."

This is pretty much that book. It talks about the nature of human nature, from a social psychology and evolutionary psychology point of view. Some of the most important social science experiments of the 20th century are here, described well, and related to the greater theme, which is how ordinary people become perpetrators of genocide. It is systematic, clearly argued and a good basis for further research. There are some things about it that could've been improved but nothing that reduces its importance.

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