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Evil in the making

March 3, 2015

Harvard Gazette
March 3, 2015

Staff writer: Al Powell

What makes an armed man kill an unarmed civilian? What makes him join the killing of many hundreds — or hundreds of thousands — of civilians?

University of Amsterdam Professor of Social Science Emeritus Abram de Swaan takes a hard look at the subject in his new book, “The Killing Compartments: The Mentality of Mass Murder.” History is appallingly dense with examples, from medieval warfare to Nazi Germany to Stalin’s purges to Rwanda in the 1990s.

De Swaan talked with the Gazette ahead of a Tuesday lecture at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies.

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