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Theatres Of Violence: Massacre, Mass Killing and Atrocity throughout History

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Volume 11

War and Genocide

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Theatres Of Violence

Massacre, Mass Killing and Atrocity throughout History

Edited by Philip Dwyer and Lyndall Ryan

352 pages, 8 figures and tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-299-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2012)

ISBN  978-1-78238-922-4 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (May 2015)

eISBN 978-0-85745-300-6 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Making a distinction between ‘massacre’ and ‘genocide,’ the editors strive to launch a new field of ‘massacre studies,’ focusing on mass killings that are not genocidal in intent. The book should be added to any library collecting in the field of mass violence studies.”  ·  Choice

“Students of world history need to understand that history does not exist in a concrete and established form but rather continues to be shaped by—and to shape, in turn—present prejudices and policies. Theatres of Violence, by tackling a selection of emotionally charged and highly contested events, illustrates that dynamic at work throughout history, and so it proves an important contribution to both the study of violence specifically and to world history in general.”  ·  Middle Ground Journal

“…an admirable and varied collection of 20 chapters on the phenomenon of massacre… The density of the volume is such that this review cannot do full justice to the quality of the contributions.  ·  European History Quarterly

"...{A] milestone on the path toward a more sophisticated analysis of a key feature of human cruelty…[This volume’s] goal is exploration and inspiration of further research in, and discussion of, the history of massacres…[It] does an excellent job in doing exactly this, and I am sure it will serve for a long time as a major reference book in the broader field of mass violence studies."  ·  Thomas Kühne, Strassler Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Clark University


Massacres and mass killings have always marked if not shaped the history of the world and as such are subjects of increasing interest among historians. The premise underlying this collection is that massacres were an integral, if not accepted part (until quite recently) of warfare, and that they were often fundamental to the colonizing process in the early modern and modern worlds. Making a deliberate distinction between ‘massacre’ and ‘genocide’, the editors call for an entirely separate and new subject under the rubric of ‘Massacre Studies’, dealing with mass killings that are not genocidal in intent. This volume offers a reflection on the nature of mass killings and extreme violence across regions and across centuries, and brings together a wide range of approaches and case studies.

Philip Dwyer is Associate Professor in Modern European History at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He has published widely on the revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. His monograph Napoleon: The Path to Power, 1769-1799 (2008) won the Australian National Biography Award.

Lyndall Ryan is Professorial Fellow at the Centre for the History of Violence, Humanities Research Institute at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her classic text, The Aboriginal Tasmanians, first published in 1981, opened up the field of colonial frontier violence in Australia. Since then she has published widely on settler massacres on the Australian colonial frontier.

Subject: Genocide History


List of Tables, Illustrations, and Maps

Introduction: The Massacre and History
Philip Dwyer and Lyndall Ryan


Chapter 1. The Origins of Massacres
John Docker

Chapter 2. Massacres in the Peloponnesian War
Brian Bosworth

Chapter 3. “The Abominable Quibble”: Alexander’s Massacre of Indian Mercenaries at Massaga
Elizabeth Baynham

Chapter 4. The Roman Concept of Massacre: Julius Caesar in Gaul 
Jane Bellemore

Chapter 5. Atrocity and Massacre in the High and Late Middle-Ages
Laurence W.  Marvin

Chapter 6. A Sea of Blood? Massacres during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 1641–53
Inga Jones


Chapter 7. Looking the Other Way: The Gnadenhutten Massacre and the Contextual Interpretation of Violence
Rob Harper

Chapter 8. Settler Massacres on the Australian Colonial Frontier, 1836-1851 
Lyndall Ryan

Chapter 9. Tactics of Nineteenth Century Colonial Massacre: Tasmania, California and Beyond
Benjamin Madley

Chapter 10. A Blueprint for Massacre: The United States Army and the 1870 Blackfeet Massacre
Blanca Tovías de Plaisted

Chapter 11. When Massacre Appears: Representations of Australian Indigenous Massacres in Fiction
Katrina Schlunke


Chapter 12. Memories of Massacres and Atrocities during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
Philip Dwyer

Chapter 13. Stalin’s Trap: The Katyn Forest Massacre between Propaganda and Taboo
Claudia Weber

Chapter 14. The Great Secret: Sites of Mass Killings in Stalinist Russia
François-Xavier Nérard

Chapter 15. Spectacular Atrocities: Making Enemies during the 1965-1966 Massacres in Indonesia
Annie Pohlman

Chapter 16. A Necessary Salve: The ‘Hue Massacre’ in History and Memory
Scott Laderman

Chapter 17. A Battle for Perceptions: Revisiting the Cassinga Controversy in Southern Africa
Gary Baines


Chapter 18. Method in their Madness: Understanding the Dynamics of the Italian Massacre of Ethiopian Civilians, February-May 1937
Giuseppe Finaldi

Chapter 19. The Algerian War on French Soil : The Paris Massacre of 17 October 1961
Hélène Jaccomard

Chapter 20. Wedding Massacres and the War in Afghanistan
Stephen J. Rockel

Select Bibliography
Notes on the Contributors

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