A Problem from Hell by Samantha Power
America and the Age of Genocide

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About this book:In 1993, as a 23-year-old correspondent covering the wars in the Balkans, I was initially comforted by the roar of NATO planes flying overhead. President Clinton and other western leaders had sent the planes to monitor the Bosnian war, which had killed almost 200,000 civilians. But it soon became clear that NATO was unwilling to target those engaged in brutal "ethnic cleansing." American statesmen described Bosnia as "a problem from hell," and for three and a half years refused to invest the diplomatic and military capital needed to stop the murder of innocents. In Rwanda, around the same time, some 800,000 Tutsi and opposition Hutu were exterminated in the swiftest killing spree of the twentieth century. Again, the United States failed to intervene. This time U.S. policy-makers avoided labeling events "genocide" and spearheaded the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers stationed in Rwanda who might have stopped the massacres underway. Whatever America's commitment to Holocaust remembrance (embodied in the presence of the Holocaust Museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C.), the United States has never intervened to stop genocide. This book is an effort to understand why. While the history of America's response to genocide is not an uplifting one, "A Problem from Hell" tells the stories of countless Americans who took seriously the slogan of "never again" and tried to secure American intervention. Only by understanding the reasons for their small successes and colossal failures can we understand what we as a country, and we as citizens, could have done to stop the most savage crimes of the last century.-Samantha Power
 

About Samantha Power

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Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
 
Published May 14, 2013 by Basic Books. 660 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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Even so, writes Power (who covered the Balkan conflict for U.S. News and World Report), the Clinton administration was reluctant to characterize the butchery as genocide, preferring instead to cast it in terms of “tragedy” and “civil war” and thus “downplaying public expectations that there was a...

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The Guardian

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A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power pp656, Flamingo, £9.99 The word 'genocide' was coined as recently as 1946 by a Polish-Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin, only four of whose 50-plus relatives survived the Holocaust.

Jun 29 2003 | Read Full Review of A Problem from Hell: America ...

The Guardian

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A Problem from Hell by Samantha Power 656pp, Flamingo, £9.99 We Did Nothing by Linda Polman 234pp, Viking, £12.99 The debate about why it is so difficult to get the governments of rich and powerful countries to do anything effective about massacre, persecution and genocide raged wit...

Jul 05 2003 | Read Full Review of A Problem from Hell: America ...

Publishers Weekly

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Power, a former journalist for U.S. News and World Report and the Economist and now the executive director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights, offers an uncompromising and disturbing examination of 20th-century acts of genocide and U.S responses to them.

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The Garfield Book Review

when Saddam Hussein was solving the “Kurdish problem” with chemical gas in Northern Iraq in 1988, not only did the US rely on Saddam as a bulwark against the ayatollahs in Iran, but sanctions were also politically impossible thanks to the thriving trade relationship between the US and the Iraqi r...

Aug 09 2012 | Read Full Review of A Problem from Hell: America ...

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