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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1998, Vol. 1 No. 1 .

Taking Lives: Genocide and State Power
Irving Louis Horowitz. Fourth Edition.

(New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1997).
324pp. Index. Pb.: 14.95;
ISBN 1-56000-877-6.

The fourth edition of Horowitz's book, 'expanded and revised' since its last print run more than ten years ago, adds new material and new arguments to the presently under researched topic of genocide. Obviously recognising the need for amendments to his earlier work in light of new research and genocidal experiences, Horowitz has included a number of interesting and thought provoking chapters, further expanding his concept of the organised and deliberate attempts of states to commit genocidal acts and the notion that the rise in acts of genocide correlates with a rise in the nation-state.

However, I recognised three main factors which I feel are still lacking in this new edition. Firstly, the structuring of the chapters was such that it was difficult to recognise a clear theme running through the sections and I was at a loss to find the appropriateness of the construction of his arguments. Secondly, the author only fleetingly mentions the psychological significance of many genocidal acts, connecting his entire argument around the rise of the nation state, in sociological terms - a deficit in my opinion. Finally, I was disappointed with the lack of analysis, and closer connection to his own arguments, of more recent acts of genocide, such as those inflicted on the Tutsi in Rwanda and the Kurds in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, although I found it at times difficult to get to the heart of the author's argument linking all genocide to state power, I recognise that Horowitz is making a valiant attempt to find new perspectives by which to look at the issue and did find his writing an addition to the on-going debate on definitions of genocide.

Grainne Kelly, University of Ulster

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