Author: Joseph N. Abraham
Publication: September 18, 2018 by University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press
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Xenophobia. Racism. Fascism. Intolerance. Inhumanity. Coercion.
Right wing populists increasingly draw attention around the globe, but the attention is misdirected. The real problem is not the the authoritarian, but the authoritarian personalities who follow him. If people do not blindly follow and obey the despot, he is irrelevant.
Why do we attach ourselves to demagogues and mountebanks? Why do we defend even their most obvious hypocrisies and lies?
The answer is found in the history of civilization. For the past 10,000 years, those who disagreed with the king or his nobles risked ruin and death.
But that is only part of the answer. The other part is that, despite our romantic traditions, kings and conquerors were vicious criminals. They represent the most evil psychopaths, narcissists, and sadists in the history of humanity.
Trigger and book content warnings: genocide, murder, racism, sexual assault, torture
“We must recognize and remember the cost of the modern world: the pain, the suffering, the torture, and the death of untold millions.”
Kings, Conquerors, Psychopaths: From Alexander to Hitler to the Corporation by Joseph N. Abraham is one of the most surprising books I have read so far this year. And I mean this in the best way possible. I hadn’t expected to be so fully captivated by it, to be honest. It’s a book that packs quite the punch!
Firstly I’m gonna say that I don’t give out five star ratings very often. In fact this is only my third of the year so that in its own way says a lot about how I feel about this book and how much I enjoyed reading it. And in my opinion it’s a thoroughly deserved five star rating. It was simply outstanding and I’d highly recommend it.
Secondly, this book is not for the faint of heart. I’ve put some trigger warnings above because some things were pretty hard to read about, even for me. There are also several pictures in it that make you just stop, swallow and try to take it all in. This is not a bad thing because I absolutely loved the author’s candor and straightforwardness. He didn’t sugar-coat anything, which is something I definitely appreciated.
“That, I believe, is the solution to Holocaust denial: we must recognize the recurrence of human persecution. Horror is our past. If we do not embrace that fact, it will also be our future, over and over, until we finally do learn to understand and to control it.
Or until we disappear.”
Now this books covers a whole lot of different topics. It goes into ancient history, middle ages, modern times and on top of that it also examines how kings, conquerors don’t actually differ much from psychopaths + much more than that that you just have to find out for yourself because there’s a lot of other things to discover in the book. I thought these were really unique things to write about and I also thought it was all so very fascinating. I had a hard time putting the book down and I was always super looking forward to picking it back up and continuing my reading. What else can you need from a great book?
This sounds fascinating, I’ll be adding to my TBR. Thanks for sharing your thoughts
Thanks for stopping by!
I also rarely give out 5 stars, so this must have been a fantastic read! It’s an interesting premise and I feel like it would really make me think!
I hadn’t expected this to end up as a 5 star read when I started so that was a nice surprise
What else indeed? ? it’s great when a book just hits all the right notes for you- especially when you don’t expect it.
I read it really fast too for the amount of pages it had. Gotta love that!
This sounds fascinating, and scarier to think its all true!
Yes. I was like oh shit with some things. But super fascinating!
This sounds a really interesting read, love that you rated it the full 5 stars! Definitely one for me to check out sometime x
It was so unexpected too, didn’t expect it would be a 5 star read.
Love the variety and it doesn’t sound like the easiest read with those heavy topics but interesting nonetheless. Great review, Stephanie!
Definitely not the easiest read but 100% worth it!
This indeed doesn’t sound like an easy read, but it does sound fascinating.
It was SO fascinating!!
The synopsis packs a punch on its own! The whole idea of narcissistic leaders that are idolized is terrifying. Sounds like a book that really digs deep on many levels and the fact that it is based on history would be hard to read about, for sure. 😉
Yes it was eye-opening on so many levels!
This sounds like such a great and important book! I’m fascinated by the subject matter but definitely don’t have the stomach for those trigger warnings so hopefully they’ll consider releasing an alternate version for younger readers in the future. *fingers crossed*
I definitely didn’t expect so much talk about torture. I could handle it but it wasn’t the easiest. Still a fantastic book though!
This is serious business! The blurb is too grimdark, but the topic is clearly very relevant and I see you gave it a high rating too. You’ve got me interested in this book for sure. I wonder if you’ve also seen the movie The Reader? Kate Winslet plays a Nazi spy, and when they ask her later in Court why she agreed to do such despicable work, she says she was ordered to. Then she says “What would you have done?” That question echoes in the Court hall, and was very spine-chilling. This book reminded me of that scene somehow.