Review: The Historiography of Genocide by Dan Stone

The Historiography of GenocideThe Historiography of Genocide by Dan Stone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This has been a difficult read for a couple of reasons:

1) Genocide will never (and ought never to be) a subject that is emotionally ‘easy’ to learn about
2) There are a lot of complex ideas and research squashed into a relatively short survey (given how much historiography the book attempts to cover) making it a dense read
3) The book is not only a survey of genocide historiography but it also covers a crash course chapter on an element of the most historiographically prominent genocides (13 are covered in all)

This book is a comprehensive overview of the whole field of genocide studies and its historiography. It’s helpful to learn how genocide research has been conducted in other disciplines (though history-centric, the book does talk about multi-disciplinary approaches, particularly in the ‘Concepts’ section) and the Case Studies section does well to illustrate a lot of the theory that the book goes over in the opening section. Each essay gives a brief overview of the existing historiography with a focus on post-2000 research and concludes with thought-provoking questions for possible further research.

I’d recommend this book to anyone studying an undergraduate degree or above in humanities/social sciences as, unless you’re already familiar with historiography, a lot of the concepts and terminology would be difficult to get your head around and it might be off-putting.

An emotionally and intellectually challenging read, this book is informative and thorough. the sheer amount of scholarship this book covers is both inspiring and humbling – it has raised a wide range of interesting questions for the future of genocide studies and added a great deal more texts to my reading list(!).

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